8/12/14

Grindhouse Girls: Laura Gemser


There isn't a lot of information out there about the early life of this actress, and the information that is available isn't very detailed.  I  find it strange that she isn't more popular, I mean, look at her.  I guess I just took it for granted that most people know about Laura Gemser, but unless a person watches a fair amount of European sexploitation from the 1970s and '80s, that doesn't seem to be true.  Obviously, I watch a fair amount of it.

From what can be gathered, Laura Gemser was born in Java, Indonesia on October 5, 1950 and given the name Laurette Marcia which was later shortened to "Laura."  At the age of 4 or 5, she moved with her parents to the Netherlands or it's possible that she moved to Europe in her teens to start modelling, but she went to high school at Mulo Regentesseschool in Utrecht and later studied fashion design at the Artibus Art School.

After posing nude for several gentlemen's magazines like Playmen in the Netherlands and Belgium, she was discovered by Italian film producers and introduced to Pier Ludovici Pavoni who cast her as the main love interest in his sex comedy "Amore Libero - Free Love" in 1974.

Her next role came the following year in the X-rated Emmanuelle film, "Emmanuelle II" (Electric Boogaloo?) where she played a masseuse who gives a soapy rubdown to fellow Dutch sexploitation legend Sylvia Kristel.  It wasn't much of a part, but it lead to a starring role in her own Emanuelle film which was called... "Black Emanuelle."

This part is a little bit confusing.  There are essentially two series of Emmanuelle films.  The original ones with Silvia Kristel which are about a sexually promiscuous world traveller, and are spelled Emmanuelle with two "M"s, and the "rip-offs" which are not really copies of the original series but are stories about a different nympho, who also happens to be named Emanuelle and who is also eager to spread her love/legs to the entire world.  These movies star Laura Gemser and are spelled as Emanuelle with one "M."

Laura starred in so many of these "Black Emanuelle" sequels and became so well known as Emanuelle that later in her career she played characters who were named Emanuelle who had nothing to do with the world-travelling erotic adventurer but were just called Emanuelle to capitalize on the success of her previous films.  Or sometimes, unrelated films are called "Emanuelle Something Something" even though there is nobody named Emanuelle in them... like "Eva Nera" which is sometimes called "Emanuelle Goes Japanese" even though Gemser's character is called Eva and nobody goes to Japan.

During the filming of "Black Emanuelle" in Kenya in 1975, Laura began a romance with Italian co-star Gabriele Tinti and later moved in with him in Rome.  They married in 1976 and continued to act together in many of the future Emanuelle movies, as well as a handful of other Italian exploitation films. The marriage lasted until Gabriele died of cancer in 1991.

Laura Gemser and Gabriele Tinti in "Eva Nera"
In 1976 Laura worked with infamous smut director Joe D'Amato for the first time in "Girl in a Seminary" and she would go on to work with him for a total of 20 films over the course of her career.  As the series of Emanuelle films progressed with Joe D'Amato at the helm, they became sleazier and more explicit, and moved from the softcore exploitation of the earlier films to incorporating hardcore sex scenes of actual penetration.  Probably the most notorious of these is "Emanuelle in America" where Laura uses her photojournalist skills to track down a group of kidnappers who use teenage girls in snuff films.  It contains hardcore scenes and some horse masturbation.  Click here to see what others have said about it.  I believe the horse's name was Pedro.  It should be noted that in all of these Joe D'Amato films, a body double was used (and sometimes obviously so) for Laura Gemser.  She starred in the films but she never did any of the hardcore scenes.

Laura's career continued like this until the early 1990s.  Almost all of her roles were in Italian exploitation and horror, and she never did have any mainstream American success... except for one film.  In 1983 she starred opposite Michael Landon in a made-for-TV movie called Love is Forever about a journalist who goes to Laos to rescue his girlfriend, or something. "Laura Gemser" did not have a role in the film because Laura Gemser had a history of parading around naked and getting into all kinds of morally reprehensible situations in every one of her previous films, so she was called "Moira Chen" in an attempt to hide this fact from the mainstream American audience.

In 1988, Joe D'Amato discovered that Laura had a background in fashion so he employed her as a costume designer on the films that they worked on together.  She also worked on a few films from other Italian directors.  "Troll 2" was one of those films.  Yes, Laura Gemser was the costume designer for "Troll 2."  Around the time of her husband's death, Laura stopped acting and by 1992 she had left the motion picture industry completely as both an actress and designer.

She is retired and now lives in Italy.



2 comments:

The CreepyThinMan said...

LAURA GEMSER IS A GODDESS!!!FACT!!!

T. Banacek said...

I don't disagree.

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