The recently restored in 4K version of The Ape Woman is finally being released on Blu-ray for the first time ever. Marco Ferreri‘s (La grande bouffe) original cut, and the producer’s cut with “happy ending” which garnered a Palme D’Or nomination at the 1964 Cannes Festival, are both included on the disc. A movie so cruel, it had to get a different ending to please crowds.

Sleazy entrepreneur Antonio Focaccia (Ugo Tognazzi) one day meets a young shy woman, who’s fully covered in hair. He marries her in order to get her on the freak-show circuit and cash in on the distinctive appearance of her body and face. The story is fast paced and often jumps ahead in time, not wasting too much screen time on exposition, although the character development is more than enough to paint a perfect picture of who we’re dealing with.

Maria (Annie Girardot) often gets referred to as a monster, but we quickly start to understand it’s not her who’s the real monster in this story. Antonio exploits Maria both physically and psychologically for his own welfare. It’s a clever metaphor of capitalism exploiting women to satisfy men’s perversion. After watching both endings, the original cut is the one that really fits the story, even though it’s incredibly disturbing and bleak.

The film is based on the true story of 19th century carnival performer Julia Patrana, whereas writers Rafael Azcona and Marco Ferreri were able to blend in a unique sense of humour that surprisingly works and doesn’t make this as depressing as it otherwise would’ve been.

This 4K restoration of Marco Ferreri’s controversial film, The Ape Woman, is a tragically nightmarish tale of manipulation, that not only watches like a bizarre melodrama, but infuriates at how the nature of this story still can be implemented on different minorities within our modern day society.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Ape Woman is on Blu-ray and digital 11 October from CultFilms. Pre-order HERE.

Reviewed on October 10, 2021 (screener provided by publicist). Rating: TBC. Running time: 93 min. 

PRODUCTION: A CultFilms release of a Compagnia Cinematografica Champion, Les Films Concordia, Cocinor & Les Films Marceau production. Producer: Carlo Ponti.

CREW: Director: Marco Ferreri. Writers: Rafael Azcona & Marco Ferreri. Editing: Mario Serandrei. Music: Teo Usuelli. Cinematography: Aldo Tonti.

CAST: Annie Girardot, Ugo Tognazzi, Achille Majeroni, Filippo Pompa Marcelli, Ermelinda De Felice.

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