Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 5th, 2007
Release Dates: Italy, February 17th, 1971
Director: Lucio Fulci
Writers: Lucio Fulci, Roberto Gianviti, José Luis Martínez Mollá, André Tranché
Cast: Florinda Bolkan, Stanley Baker, Jean Sorel, Anita Strindberg
DVD Released: February, 2007
Approximate Running Time: 103 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Mono English, Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: Media Blasters/Shriek Show
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: Carol (Florinda Bolkan) has been seeing a psychiatrist about the psychedelic nightmares that appear vividly real. In her dreams she commits a vicious murder that parallels a real life murder investigation that she has now become the prime suspect in. Her father is a respected politician who pulls a few strings to protect his daughter including pointing the finger at Carol’s husband Frank (Jean Sorel). Did she really commit these horrible crimes or is someone trying to frame her?
Lucio Fulci is most remembered for his gore drenched classics like The Beyond and Zombi 2. Most of his films from this later period of his career have been released on DVD while a few of his more prominent early works are still languishing in obscurity. Over the course of his career Fulci would only direct a handful of giallo’s Don’t Torture a Duckling, The New York Ripper, A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin (these three have been released on DVD so far) with One on Top of The Other and Seven Notes in Black still waiting for their DVD debut. It is in the giallo genre in which Fulci excel most as an artist directing some of the best films of his career. Lucio Fulci would also work with Florinda Bolkan of another giallo Don’t Torture a Duckling.
Out of the five giallo’s Lucio Fulci directed each one has its own distinct style that sets it apart from his other entries in this genre. A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin sees Fulci not only follow some of the traditional giallo standards he also spends an ample amount of time experimenting with his various collaborators on this film. One of the director’s most important collaborators is his editor. A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin would mark first of nineteen collaboration’s between editor Vincenzo Tomassi and director Lucio Fulci. His rhythmic pacing for A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin adds to films dream like trance. Some of the credit of the look of A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin can be attributed to the films cinematographer who also shoot Dario Argento’s influential giallo Profondo rosso and Fulci’s delightfully disturbing The New York Ripper.
He uses many common techniques like split screen and wave like distortion of the frame that helps disorient the viewer. Fucli’s films have never been as colorful as his contemporary Dario Argento’s films. A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin is Fulci’s most colorful film that I have seen to date. It is hard to believe that A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin is the only time that legendary composer Ennio Morricone ever worked with Lucio Fulci. The finished score in nothing short of perfect as Morricone employs to its fullest the sweet voice of female whose vocal pattern is more like a chant then actual spoken words. The rest of the score goes from melancholy heartbreak arrangements to menacing string arrangements that sounds like finger nails across a chalk board. A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin is one of Morricone’s most diverse and accomplished scores.
A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin is blessed with a marvelous cast that includes Florinda Bolkan, Stanley Baker, Jean Sorel, Leo Genn, Penny Brown, Mike Kennedy and Anita Strindberg (making her film debut). Stanley Baker most known for his role in the film Zulu plays Inspector Corvin. His character has an unusual quirk in which he can be heard whistling through out the film. This little nuance helps define his characters personality and at times the whistling can become unnerving. My appreciation for Florinda Bolkan as an actress grows with each new film I see her in. Her performance is what the whole film hinges on and it is totally to her credit that this film works as well as it does.
Overall all the acting is extremely good and the English dubbed was also put together with a lot of TLC. Schizoid is exactly two minutes and twenty five seconds longer then the uncut version of A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin. All the cuts appear to be non dialog related and I have to wonder why instead of releasing two different versions that Media Blasters just didn’t integrate this footage into Schizoid. One key deleted sequences that involved the vivisecting of the dogs I found to be disgusting. The only purpose for such a scene is too shock the viewer and it is nothing more the just pure exploitation. Lucio Fulci is now receiving the acclaim that had eluded him his whole life. He was a diverse director who made masterpieces out virtually nothing. A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin is one the golden age of giallo’s finest moments that has to be seen to truly appreciate it.
Two years after they originally release Lizard in a Woman’s Skin Media Blasters revisits the title added news extras and added footage missing form their previous release making this the most complete version of the film currently available on DVD. The film is presented in an anamorphic widescreen which preserves the films original aspect ratio. Colors and flesh tones look almost identical to the quality present of Media Blasters 2005 release of Lizard in a Woman’s Skin. The newly added scenes are not in as good of shape as the rest for the print used for the this transfer and good news is that these scenes while lesser in quality do not ever become so distracting that they take away from the viewing experience. Overall while not flawless the transfer far exceeds all previous transfers of this film release on DVD to date.
This release comes with three audio options a Dolby Digital 5.1 remix in English and two Dolby Digital mono mixes in English and Italian. You can’t go wrong with any of the three audio mixes. The English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix sounds too spread out at times, and the two mono mixes (English & Italian) are in good shape with no sound defects and dialog is easy to understand. Removable English subtitles have been included that are easy to follow.
For this new release Media Blasters have elected not to carry over nay of the extras included on their previous release and this release comes with the following extras a Lucio Fulci trailers gallery and alternate opening titles for the film in Italian. Rounding out the extras are two segments with Lucio Fulci expert Professor Paolo Albiero. The first segment is a thirty one minute discussion about Fulci and Lizard in a Woman’s Skin. The second segment is about five minutes along and this time Professor Paolo Albiero talks about the censorship this film has faced through the years.
Media Blasters comes through on their promise to re-release a Lizard in a Woman’s Skin if a longer version of the film could be located. This release also comes with brand new extras and the only flaw I see in this release is not including the extras that were included on their previous a Lizard in a Woman’s Skin release. Media Blasters re-release of a Lizard in a Woman’s Skin finally gives fans of this film a chance to see it in its most complete version to date, highly recommended.