La regina degli elefanti (1997)

A young woman who grew up wild among the elephants of Africa is rescued by relatives and taken back to civilization in Scotland where she has trouble adapting to her new aristocratic life.

Attractive, surprisingly pleasant porn from Joe

I was pleasantly surprised by QUEEN OF ELEPHANTS, a 1997 porn film by busy-busy Joe D’Amato, which took the Greystoke theme and fashioned a diverting if overlong stroke movie from it.

Selen, a very beautiful actress who seems equally adept at commanding and riding atop elephants as she is at performing BJs on well-endowed European porn actors, stars as Jenny Mallory, a young cousin of our hero and heroine (the other leading thesps’ identities are not matched in the credits), searching through a wildlife park in Kenya for the long-missing girl.

D’Amato’s leisurely pace spends pleasant moments capturing the flora and fauna, with trained elephants performing admirably, and the cast going through the typical XXX sex positions against attractive settings. Unlike most porn of this era, D’Amato’s camera-work and editing keep the frequent sex scenes running in the 5-minute or so timeframe, rather than the endless Warholian format to which adult films have devolved. His attractive heroines (I’m guessing that Marisa Swalloy does the most enthusiastic athletic sex as Esther, a very free-loving relative in the Scottish clan), are extremely impressive visually, while the male cast provides repeated fountains of money shots that would do Peter North proud.

Second half of the film has Jenny brought back to the clan’s Scottish mansion, where Selen proves quite charming and funny portraying the innocence of a wild child right out of Bruno S.’s playbook for Werner Herzog. Ending is no surprise, as QUEEN OF ELEPHANTS 2 with the same cast was already in the can.

For the U.S. DVD release, D’Amato has the dubbed English downplayed to such an extent that the dialogue is almost subliminal. At first it’s all spoken in long shots so there’s no need of lip-synch, and later on it’s vaguely murmured to the point of near-unintelligibility. Other than the clash of cultures, there’s no real point here, and any characterization is sacrificed in favor of a “let’s get it on” attitude by all the players. Most amusing was the leading man’s resemblance to Robert Downey Jr. -hope his career doesn’t lead him to porn!

It struck me early on that the simple pleasures of the old Tarzan, Jungle Jim and Sheena juvenile adventures was naively re-created by D’Amato, adding the incongruous explicit sex with disarming ease. I’ve seen many exploitation films set in Africa, of the BOWANGA BOWANGA and TRADE HORNEE variety, but D’Amato does an infinitely better job of just giving the viewer what he wants. In a strange way, QUEEN could even qualify as a couples film: it gives equal time to its male & female characters and is totally devoid of the cruelty and nastiness upon which Joe built his rep from all those years toiling in horror. ~ lor_

Alternate Titles
The Queen of the Elephants DVD In-X-Cess
Selen L’Affaire de la Jungle 1999 DVD Blue One