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Porn Film Past Returns to Haunt Anouska

Wide World of Porn- IN a soft-porn film role she hoped had been long forgotten Anouska Hempel, now Lady Weinberg, played a sadistic plantation owner who dominated her slaves with a whip.

Thirty-two years later she is a leading figure in London’s high society, the wife of millionaire insurance tycoon Sir Mark Weinberg and chatelaine of a London town house and a Wiltshire estate.

Now Black Snake, the sexually and racially exploitative film she made for Hollywood porn king Russ Meyer in 1973 has come back to haunt her. It will be released on DVD by Arrow Films, www.xxxdeepthroat.com this month with another Meyer classic Wild Gals of the Naked West.

The former proprietor of the chic London hotels Blakes and the Hempel is rumoured to have offered to buy the video rights to ensure the film was forgotten for ever. In its celluloid version the film is thought to have been shown in Britain on only a handful of occasions. But it will now be sold in video stores and the Ann Summers chain of sex shops.

In the film, shot on Barbados, Weinberg plays Lady Susan Walker, a dominatrix who satiates her desires by whipping black male slaves on her 19th-century cotton plantation. Her long leather whip lashes out at every slave in sight until they rebel. She is then raped by a slave and a half-witted mute.

“Lovers of kitsch, titillation-packed storylines will not be disappointed,” boasts Arrow’s promotional literature. “Black Snake stars English aristocrat Anouska Hempel as a sexy and unforgiving slave driver. No one escapes her island . . . or her whip.”

The dubious dialogue has Hempel repeatedly cursing female slaves as “n***** sluts”. In an opening shot she cracks her whip and shouts: “Black and white together? Never!” In another scene she curses a slave crucified for his part in the uprising. “You should have died three days ago, you n*****.”

Even hardened movie critics have found the film beyond the pale. Images, the online journal of film and popular culture, said: “Meyer’s nudge-nudge wink-wink approach fails him completely here. He attempts to wring the slavery issue for maximum camp value, but his approach is so blatantly insensitive and exploitative that it will quite probably suck your bottom jaw to the floor in stunned silence.” Hempel complained to film censors in 1977 that naked scenes had been inserted into Black Snake without her permission. “Worse, the double they have used is a much bigger lady with large breasts,” she said.

The actress was first married to property developer Constantine Hempel. She went on to a brief second marraige to theatre impresario Bill Kenwright, before becoming Lady Weinberg in 1980, confirming her status in London society.

As proprietor of Blakes and the Hempel, she went on to be celebrated for her interior designs and as a couturier made dresses for Princess Diana and Princess Margaret.

Not surprisingly, she snubbed an invitation from Meyer in 2000 to attend a London party held to celebrate the film’s video release in America. He must have been shocked.

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