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The Laughing Woman (1969)

Femina ridens (original title)
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A rich and sadistic man, who enjoys degrading women as part of elaborate S&M games, abducts a female journalist. She is subjected to his unpleasant games but soon begins subverting him.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Dr. Sayer
... Maria
... Gida
Varo Soleri ... Administrator
... Sayer's Secretary
... Streetwalker
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Storyline

A rich and sadistic man, who enjoys degrading women as part of elaborate S&M games, abducts a female journalist. She is subjected to his unpleasant games but soon begins subverting him.

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Thriller

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X | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

4 December 1969 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

The Laughing Woman  »

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(Eastmancolor)

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1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Curious sixties sexploitation flick
28 March 2007 | by See all my reviews

The Frightened Woman is a curious piece of Eurocult, much along the same lines as the films that Jess Franco was churning out around the same time. The film very much captures the feel of late sixties to early seventies European cinema and the atmosphere is definitely the film's best asset. It's lucky that the film will to appeal to fans of this sort of film too, as the idea behind the central plot line is pretty damn ridiculous! I'm not sure if there was some sort of paranoid science related thing happening in Italy in the late sixties, but films like this and the bizarre Giallo Death Laid an Egg suggest to me that something was going on... Anyway, our lead character, Dr. Sayer, has somehow got it into his head that women are taking steps to eliminate the need for men, and so he kidnaps a young lady named Maria. It turns out that he actually does this sort of thing all the time, and has got into the habit of killing his partner every time he has sex. However, things take a turn for the unexpected when Maria convinces him to change his ways.

Naturally, the entire film is really rather pointless; and while The Frightened Woman isn't exactly a thrill ride, there's still some interest. The speeches from the lead man are interesting in a completely nonsensical sort of way. The acting is typically trashy, although the leads; Philippe Leroy and Dagmar Lassander give decent leading performances considering the type of film. The majority of the film centres around the forced relationship between the two central characters, and this is somewhat the film's downfall. The problem is that what they're doing isn't always all that interesting; and the relaxed flow of the film means that it can become a bit dreary at times. The locations are good, however, and the bachelor pad in which most of the action takes place is a good representative of the period in which the film was made. As a 'battle of the sexes', it has to be said that The Frightened Woman veers more towards femininity, which is odd considering the way that women are usually treated in Eurocult cinema. Overall, I wouldn't recommend anyone going out of their way to find this film; but if you're a fan of trashy Jess Franco stuff, you might just like this too.


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