Wild Orchid (1989) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • A female lawyer becomes mesmerized by a self-made millionaire during an encounter in Rio setting off a series of erotic encounters.

  • Emily, a raw recruit to a law firm is sent to Brazil with Claudia to help finalise a real estate deal. Emily is innocent and vulnerable, and when she's left in Rio with Wheeler, a milionaire with an unusual outlook on life, Emily is shocked and intrigued by the sex antics to which she is exposed.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Emily Reed (Carré Otis), a beautiful young lawyer, leaves her Midwest home town for the first time in her entire life to interview for jobs in New York City. During an interview at a firm specializing in international law, she claims to be fluent in several languages, including Portugese, and asserts that she has always been fascinated by other cultures. The two interviewers (Lester Berman and Steven Kaminsky) are impressed and Emily is offered the job as a paralegal, as long as she is willing to travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, that morning. After she accepts, Emily meets Claudia Dennis (Jacqueline Bisset), with whom she will travel to Brazil. Claudia informs Emily about the real estate deal they are going to close.

    Arriving in Rio de Janeiro, they are welcomed by Flavio (Milton Gonçalves), a hotel concierge at a five-star hotel, and driven to a construction site. Claudia points out an old hotel that will be torn down and replaced after their deal is brokered, and describes plans for a marina. Claudia seeks out Elliot Costa (Michael Villela), who is due to sign over the land, but discovers that he has gone to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for a wedding. She decides to follow him there and instructs Emily to go on a date in her place that night. Claudia describes her date as "a predator" and warns Emily not to reveal too much.

    With Claudia gone, Emily explores the grounds and spies a local Brazilian couple (Anya Sartor and Joao Carlos Dos Santos) having sex inside the dilapidated hotel. Scandalized, Emily hurries back to her own hotel room and puts on the dress that Claudia left for her to wear. In the lobby, she meets Claudia's date, James Wheeler (Mickey Rourke), an enigmatic American businessman accompanied by two bodyguards. They walk from the hotel to a nearby restaurant, and Wheeler lags behind so that he can watch Emily. At dinner, he asks Emily to guess the personal secrets of other diners. She describes an attractive married couple, stating that they met at a ski resort and honeymooned at a "grand hotel" that was surprisingly rundown. Wheeler presses for more information, but Emily does not want to go further. When he threatens to approach the couple, Emily stops him, continuing her story about the honeymoon. She describes the couple having sex in full view of a voyeur. Wheeler leads Emily to a patio, where they don masks and join a group of samba dancers. As she watches a couple doing a seductive dance, Emily is startled by a man in a wolf mask, who bites her neck. She runs back to her hotel.

    In the morning, Emily is shocked to find James Wheeler in her room. She accuses him of biting her neck but he denies doing it. Claudia calls from Buenos Aires and gives Emily orders to set up a meeting with Elliot Costa's lawyers at the airport. Wheeler makes a date to pick up Emily that afternoon. When she meets him, he introduces her to Hanna (Assumpta Serna) and Otto Munch (Oleg Vidov), the couple they observed at dinner. Wheeler has invited Otto, a race car driver, to accompany him on a motorcycle ride. Emily joins Wheeler on his motorcycle, while Hanna rides alongside Otto's motorcycle in a limousine. Wheeler leads them to a Carnival celebration by the beach. There, Hanna is harassed on the dance floor, and Wheeler steps in to protect her. As Wheeler fights Hanna's harasser, another man tries to steal Hanna's necklace. Her dress is torn, exposing her breasts. Otto tries to cover Hanna up, but she yells at him to look at her. Wheeler ushers Otto, Hanna, and Emily back into the limousine. They ride in silence until Hanna starts to cover her breasts. Wheeler stops her, expressing his desire to look at Hanna's body. He compliments Hanna's breasts and torso, and suspects that Otto's anger toward her must stem from a past infidelity. Wheeler encourages Otto to admire Hanna, and places the man's hand on Hanna's thigh. He watches as they begin to make love. Emily becomes uncomfortable and asks Wheeler to stop them. Wheeler claims he cannot, and wonders if Emily has ever given in to primal urges.

    Wheeler takes Emily back to Elliot Costa's land and leads her inside the dilapidated hotel. Emily embraces him, but he evades her, claiming he is not good at being touched. That night, Emily waits for Wheeler at an outdoor bar. She is offended when an American named Jerome propositions her for sex. Wheeler arrives, and Emily explains the situation in tears. However, Wheeler encourages her to go back to Jerome's room. Emily tentatively collects the stack of money and room key Jerome left behind, and follows him to his room. She stands in the window so that Wheeler can see her as Jerome removes her dress. Changing her mind, she tries to get away, but Jerome wrestles her to the floor. She relents, and they have sex.

    The next day, Claudia and Elliot Costa return from Buenos Aires. At the airport, they sit down with Emily, and Elliot Costa's lawyers... one of whom is Jerome McFarland, to finalize the real estate deal. Pretending not to recognize Jerome, Emily pulls Claudia aside and confesses the details of their tryst. Emily suggests she remove herself from negotiations, but Claudia tells her the fun is only just beginning. When Elliot's lawyers attempt to demand more from the deal, Claudia asks Jerome about his wife, Cynthia, indirectly threatening to expose his infidelity. The deal is signed, and Claudia plans a celebration for that evening, when Mr. Chin, the Chinese investor whom she and Emily represent, arrives. Claudia asks Emily what she thinks about Wheeler, and Emily describes him as strange. Claudia admits she has been obsessed with him since they first met, and even hired a private detective to follow him. She uncovered that he grew up an orphan in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and had a debilitating stutter as a child. Just before greeting Mr. Chin, Claudia and Emily learn that Wheeler thwarted their land deal by buying the deed to Elliot Costa's hotel. Claudia forbids Emily from disclosing the information to Chin, and their celebration goes on as planned.

    In the morning, Emily and Claudia spot an attractive Brazilian man (Jens Peter) on the beach, and Claudia gives him the key to her room. When he arrives, Claudia forces Emily to stay with them and translate their conversation since the man cannot speak any English. After Claudia instructs the man to undress, Wheeler barges in, attacks the man, and leaves in a huff. Emily runs after Wheeler, and accuses him of setting her up for failure. He tells her she is "like all the rest of them" and storms out of the hotel.

    Later, Emily receives a package, containing the deed to the old hotel, which Wheeler has signed over to her. She informs Claudia that their deal is saved.

    Another day or two later, Wheeler shows up at Emily's hotel room and discusses his hardscrabble childhood. He began investing in real estate at 16-years old and found that women were attracted to his success, despite his stutter. The more remote he became, the more women pursued him. Therefore, he began "playing games" with romantic partners, and the games became a way of life. Emily begs him to touch her. At first, he refuses. However, he gives in, and they make love for the first time (in a very VERY erotic and climatic sex scene).

    Later over the closing credits, a happy and confident Emily is seen riding with James Wheeler on his motorcycle while Carnival rages on all around them.

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