It's dreamily filmed by director Just Jaeckin and director of photography Richard Suzuki, with lots of simulated, soft-focus sex, much of it between Emmanuelle and her female conquests. Only an unpleasant rape scene in which she is the prize in a Thai boxing match, acknowledges that sexual fantasy has its dark side. The picture survives as a period piece from a more innocent time: the men, with their dated moustaches and tight pants, lack only medallions, and there's some deathless dialogue: "You like it [masturbation], don't you?" "Well yes, but I haven't had breakfast..." Even so, parts of Emmanuelle, made in the pre-AIDS era, have an almost quaint charm. True, the languorous escapades of the jetsetters are juxtaposed with rough images of the Thai sex trade, revealing among other things exciting new ways to smoke a cigarette. But Kristel's insouciance is often hypnotic.
On the DVD: Presented in 16:9 widescreen format, this release effectively replicates the original cinema viewing experience, down to the dreadful dubbed dialogue. Whichever language you watch it in, the actors' lips move in a world of their own and the Dolby Digital soundtrack only emphasises the muffled quality. Only Pierre Bachelet's "plinky-plonky" theme comes across with any clarity. Extras are limited to the original theatrical trailer.--Piers Ford