The Ape Woman

  • 1964
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Good-for-nothing Tognazzi accidentally comes across Girardot, a beautiful woman whose body is covered with fur, and convinces her to let him set her up as a sideshow attraction. Considering her pitiful yet fascinating, Tognazzi marries "The Ape Woman," giving him the legal right to star her in an obscure strip-tease act. Girardot becomes pregnant and things...read more

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Good-for-nothing Tognazzi accidentally comes across Girardot, a beautiful woman whose body is covered with fur, and convinces her to let him set her up as a sideshow attraction. Considering her pitiful yet fascinating, Tognazzi marries "The Ape Woman," giving him the legal right to star

her in an obscure strip-tease act. Girardot becomes pregnant and things look hopeful for the little family, but she and the child die during a painful birth. Feeling pressure from his debtors, Tognazzi remorsefully mummifies the two bodies and continues his sideshow attraction. The unusual,

distasteful subject matter is given a strong, emotional treatment by its director and talented cast, but the obscure, curious tone of the film falters throughout. The film is based on the true story of Julie Pastrana, a 19th-century Mexican woman who was covered with hair. She died in childbirth

(allegedly of a broken heart when she saw her still-born, fur-covered offspring). Her manager-husband had both bodies embalmed and exhibited them in Europe. Over the years the corpses were passed from showman-to-showman until they vanished some time between the World Wars. The French version of

this film ends with the birth of a normal baby, and all Girardot's hair falling out, leaving her happy and normal.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Good-for-nothing Tognazzi accidentally comes across Girardot, a beautiful woman whose body is covered with fur, and convinces her to let him set her up as a sideshow attraction. Considering her pitiful yet fascinating, Tognazzi marries "The Ape Woman," giv… (more)

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