The Frightened Woman could simply be summed up as a movie about the battle of the sexes, man vs. woman, estrogen vs. testosterone. Either way, it deals with issues that are socially and sexually pretty controversial.
The film consists mostly of two characters: Dr Sayer who works at a philanthropic institute and Maria, a journalist. The good ol doctor has a thing for hookers, and pays them to pretend to be his victims, only he is out to acquire a woman with whom he can make his wildest fantasy come true…
The film is pretty tame nowadays of course, but the acts of bondage and torture might still raise an eyebrow or two. I guess it really depends on your view, it could be misogynistic to some, but to others it might be very feministic. If you are easily offended by violence towards women, then this film is probably as shocking as it would have been to mainstream audiences in the ‘60s. It’s by no means true blue ‘Sexploitation’, its rather Sexploitation-lite. It’s an intense character study of the incompatibility of men and women; and once again depending on how you interpret the film, shows how society has shaped relationships between the sexes through overtones of psychedelic and pop artefacts, music, feminism and S&M.
The ending is quite Giallo like with its twist that I won’t comment on as I do not want to spoil it. You can take the film as a piece of trash to watch with some mates and drink some beers (although stylistically its not trash) or you can come to your own conclusions about what the film is trying to portray about gender issues. It is however very rare to be able to watch a film that is both sleazy and in a way intellectual.
The Frightened Woman totally oozes the ‘60s psychedelic era and is reminiscent of Barbarella and Danger Diabolik, in regards to the vibrant ‘kitschy’/ pop set-pieces and costumes. I can watch any movie from the ‘60s simply because any film from the ‘60s looks amazing if it is in colour, doesn’t matter if its an annoying surf musical, I just love the costumes and the period. To sum the film up – The Frightened Woman is a must see for fans of euro-erotica, Radley Metzger and exploitation films that offer entertainment and some cerebral stimulation.
The Shameless DVD print has been remastered and is pretty much perfect. It does state at the start of the film about the varying quality of source material, but it wasn’t that obvious (to me anyway) and all around was a nice print with great colour and no makor distortion of quality or sound. I greedily await more releases from Shameless who are proving themselves to be a top notch company who obviously care enough about these types of films, and want to provide us exploitation fans with both quality films and quality releases, usually it’s one or the other.
DIRECTOR(S): Piero Schivazappa | COUNTRY: Italy | YEAR 1969 | DISTRIBUTOR(S): Shameless Screen Entertainment | RUNNING TIME: 86 minutes | ASPECT RATIO: 16:9 | REGION: 0 | DISCS: 1