On Movies & Collecting – An Update on My Blu-ray Collection
I love movies.
After reading, which was – and always will be – my “first love” where pastimes are concerned and is the main reason why I’ve always wanted to write, movies rank a close second. So much so, in fact, that when I was asked, 42 years ago, which “beat” I wanted to be assigned to on the staff of South Miami High’s student newspaper, I said “Entertainment” just so I could write the occasional movie review.
Heck, one of the few vivid memories I have of the (nearly) six years that I lived in Bogota, Colombia as a child is going to a movie theater – “el Teatro Almirante” – with my older half-sister Vicky and one of her cousins on her father’s side (Andres Pereira) to see a re-release screening of The Great Escape. I can’t say with 100% certainty that it was my first trip to a movie theater; my mom might have taken me to an age-appropriate movie when I was younger, for all I know. But that excursion to see The Great Escape, which was originally released in July of 1963, is the first visit to a cinema that I recall.
Like millions of movie lovers around the world, I have been collecting movies since the VCR Revolution of the late 1970s and early 1980s made it possible for consumers to buy “home media releases” of films – from various eras and across a wide spectrum of styles and genres – so I can watch them at home.
Currently, my movie collection consists of 520 Blu-ray (both 2K and 4K) titles and slightly over 244 DVD titles (I only have figures for titles in the Blu-ray.com database, so I think my DVD count is higher than 244). Most of them are theatrically-released films, although one third of my DVD collection and maybe one quarter of my Blu-ray collection is devoted to TV series or TV movies, including many Ken Burns documentaries – including The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz, Prohibition, The Roosevelts: An Intimate Portrait, The Vietnam War, Hemingway, and The U.S. & The Holocaust – and every season of 24 and The Office.
‘Emmanuelle’ Trilogy Joins My Collection
Although I am no stranger to adult movies – yes, I’ve watched porn, and one of my previous exes even bought me a Jenna Jameson DVD (Baby Doll), which I threw away when I began my last and ill-fated romantic relationship in 2015 – they’re not my favorite genre, so I don’t own any Blu-rays or DVDs with hardcore pornography.
It’s not a matter of prudery on my part. As I’ve said in some of my Old Gamers Never Die posts about the adults-only computer games I sometimes play, I have a libido and a pulse, and I like reading erotic stories or watching the occasional adult film. But, as the late film critic Gene Siskel once said – when he mentioned that one of his “guilty pleasures” was 1974’s French erotic drama Emmanuelle – that the average “adult movie” made in the U.S. didn’t turn him on; instead, it made Siskel feel like he was studying gynecology.
With rare exceptions, that’s basically how your average U.S.-made adult movie makes me feel. As much as I love seeing attractive naked people – especially attractive naked women – having fun in bed, I am not terribly thrilled when a porn director or his/her director of photography decides to zoom in to the couple’s nether parts…and keeps the camera focused on that rather than on the participants’ faces and/or upper bodies. So, yeah, I’m totally on board with Siskel’s observation that most of the X-rated content produced – then and now – is sophomoric, cliched, and not emotionally charged.
Anyway, because the three films in the original Emmanuelle trilogy starring the late Sylvia Kristel were on sale at Amazon last week (50% off, to be precise), I decided to add them to my tiny subgroup of Blu-rays devoted to movies with erotic content. So now, in addition to Body Heat and Maid in Sweden, I now own:
- Emmanuelle (1974)
- Emmanuelle 2 aka Emmanuelle: L’antivierge (1975)
- Emmanuelle 3, released as Goodbye Emmanuelle (1977)
As I wrote a few days ago on my “banned on Facebook” blog:
The late Sylvia Kristel – who died in 2012 at the age of 60 from cancer – was one of the hottest sex symbols of the era. I first saw her in Private Lessons, a so-so but watchable coming-of-age comedy where she plays a maid who seduces her wealthy employer’s 15-year-old son as part of a scheme by her co-worker, the chauffeur. I later found out that the director of Private Lessons used a body double for Kristel’s nude scenes, but at the time (I saw it on cable TV in 1983) I was smitten by the Dutch model-actor who stars in the Emmanuelle trilogy.
Of the three films in this trilogy, the only one I’ve seen in its entirety beforehand is Emmanuelle 2, released in the U.S. as Emmanuelle 2: Joys of a Woman. I watched it as a pay-per-view offering when I was in my hotel room at the Doral Inn in New York City, and although I do remember being – once again – smitten by Sylvia Kristel, I have no recollection of its story. She was hot back then, and in Emmanuelle 2 she has long hair rather than the short ‘do that she sports in either Emmanuelle or Goodbye Emmanuelle.
I have watched parts of all three movies since they arrived here last weekend, but always at a late hour – say, after midnight – and with the volume turned down low so the TV doesn’t bother the occupants in the adjoining bedrooms. (One thing that living with Mom all my life taught me was, “Be considerate of others,” and since I don’t want to wake my two housemates with any movie, be it Star Wars, Saving Private Ryan, or, yeah, Emmanuelle, I turn down the volume as low as possible. Thank goodness for subtitles!)
I might try watching Emmanuelle after I heat up – and eat – some leftover pizza slices that I set aside for dinner. If I do, I’ll watch it in my room; Emmanuelle is not as graphic as anything in Baby Doll, but it is an erotic movie, and I don’t know how the Caregiver’s three adult children will react if they saw Sylvia Kristel au naturel or making out with a beautiful archaeologist played by Marika Green (who, incidentally, is Casino Royale Bond Girl Eva Green’s aunt!) during one of Emmanuelle’s many erotic trysts.
Even if I end up not watching Emmanuelle tonight, I am still glad I have it. Kristel was a lovely-looking woman, plus it’s a French movie made by filmmakers who know a thing or two about sexy stuff, not a cheaply made, quickly shot exercise in gynecology!