Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 24th, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: 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
BluRay released: February 9th, 2016
Approximate running times: 104 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: LPCM Mono Italian, LPCM Mono English
BluRay Release: Mondo Macabro
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
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 likeThe 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, One on Top of The Other and Seven Notes in Black. 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 (Footprints), Stanley Baker, Jean Sorel (Belle de Jour) and Anita Strindberg (The Case of the Scorpions Tale). 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.
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 and with A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin he creates one the golden age of giallo’s finest moments that has to be seen to truly appreciate it.
A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin comes on a 25 GB single layer (22.5 GB) BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. In 2015 Le Chat Qui Fum released A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin on Blu-Ray and this new Blu-Ray release from Mondo Macabro uses the same source for their transfer. And though these two originate from the same source. These two transfers are not identical. With Mondo Macabro’s transfer boasting more vibrant colors, stronger black levels and grain is more pronounced. Also Mondo Macabro’s transfer incorporates 1 minutes and 17 seconds of footage that is not present in the aforementioned Le Chat Qui Fum Blu-Ray release. It should also be noted that this extra footage comes from a lesser source and it is the same footage that was included as part of Optimum Releasing A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin DVD release.
This release comes with two audio options, a LPCM mono mix in Italian and a LPCM mono mix in English. Range and depth wise both of these audio mixes sound very good and robust when they need too. With Morricone’s score benefiting most from these audio mixes. And dialog is always clear, everything sounds balanced and there are no issues with background noise or distortion. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles.
Extras for this release include, two radio spots (1 minute 32 seconds), alternate Italian opening credits (1 minute 23 seconds) three trailers (4 minutes 2 seconds), an interview with actor Tony Adams titled ‘From Burton to Baker’ (12 minutes 27 seconds), an interview with author Stephen Thrower titled ‘When Worlds Collide’ (29 minutes 7 seconds), a documentary titled ‘Shedding the Skin’ (33 minutes 47 seconds, in English, French and Italian with English subtitles) with optional commentary with Kris Gavin, an interview with Lucio Fulci titled ‘Dr. Lucio Fulci’s Day for Night’ (32 minutes 5 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles) and an audio commentary with Kris Gavin and Pete Tombs.
Topics discussed in the interview with Tony Adams include, his origins as an actor, Villain and working with Richard Burton, A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin and working with Stanley Baker, on set memories for both of these films and Dr. Who.
Topics discussed in the interview with Stephen Thrower include, the giallo genre and A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin place in this genre, how this film was a product of time and the counter revolution elements of the plot, how this film is gorier then its contemporaries and this film’s legacy. Once again another solid discussion from Stephen Thrower who provides a wealth of insight and information about A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin.
Topics discussed in the documentary titled ‘Shedding the Skin’ include, origins of the giallo genre, how the film deals with controversial subject matter, locations featured in the film, the distribution history of the film and the cast thoughts on the final product.
Jean Sorel: Working with Lucio Fulci and how he was a talented director, explicit sexuality was a requirement during this sera of filmmaking in Italy.
Mike Kennedy: How he got cast for this film and his thoughts on the cast.
Carlo Rambaldi and Franco DiGirolamo: they discuss the special effects and how one special effect lead to criminal charges.
Topics discussed in the optional commentary with Kris Gavin include, his interest in learning more about the actors involved in Italian genre cinema, how he got involved in making extra content for DVD’s and his favorite Lucio Fulci Films are Beatrice Cenci and A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin.
Topics discussed in the interview with Lucio Fulci include, how he got into film school, Steno and working as his assistant, The Thieves and what he learned from the failure of first feature film as director, The Jukebox Kids his first success as a director, the importance of his collaboration with Franco Franchi and Ciccio Ingrassia, the public’s negative reaction to the film Beatrice Cenci and things he would have done differently looking back, his thoughts on film criticism, Horror cinema and how he approached the genre as a filmmaker and his thoughts on his contemporaries.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, how the film’s original title was The Cage, the cast and information about them, locations featured in the film, moments that have been reinstated to this release and other production related topics.
Overall A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin gets an exceptional release from Mondo Macabro, highly recommend.