Walerian Borowczyk smartly takes credit only for the “Love Express” opening film-within-a-film in this otherwise awful entry into the official series by producer Alain Seritzky who bought the rights and went on to produce some other sequels and two cable series (apparently he wants to bring her back to the big screen). Monique Gabrielle plays Emmanuelle here as an actress (reportedly she and Borowczyk conflicted and the producer’s decided to get rid of him instead of her – the film was finished by his production assistant). She goes to Cannes to promote her film, gets her clothes ripped off by rabid fans, and meets the love of her life. They quarrel over her free spirit and she accepts the invitation of a sultan to premiere his film in her country (unaware of the repressive attitude towards women there – you see, he really just wants her as part of his harem). After much harem footage, machine gun firing, and running through the jungle, the film’s ending is rather touching and would have been even more poignant had the rest of the film been anywhere as interesting.
Gabrielle is a horrible choice for Emmanuelle. She’s not European despite the name and she’s neither as sophisticated as Kristel’s character in the sequels nor as naively curious as the character in the first film. Pierre Bachelet is back as composer but his work here is uninspired. While his theme song for the original actually grows on you with further listenings, the theme song for part 5 (“I love to be loved, everyone does…”) is simply godawful and stays that way.