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Apache Woman (Una Donna chiamata Apache) 
Written by: on September 24th, 2011


Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1976
Director: Giorgio Mariuzzo
Writers: Giorgio Mariuzzo, Antonio Racioppi
Cast: Al Cliver, Clara Hopf, Federico Boido, Corrado Olmi, Rocco Oppedisano, Henry Kalter, Nadir Brown, Raul Cabrera, Piero Mazzinghi, Ely Galleani, Frank Warner, Robert Thomas, Eugen Bertil, Mario Maranzana

DVD released: November 14th, 2008 (German DVD Release), April 12th, 2006 (Spanish DVD Release)
Approximate running time: 86 Minutes (German DVD Release), 77 Minutes (Spanish DVD Release)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen (German DVD Release), 1.66:1 Letterboxed Widescreen (Spanish DVD Release)
Rating: N/A (German DVD Release), 18 (Spanish DVD Release)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian, Dolby Digital Mono German (German DVD Release), Dolby Digital Mono Spanish (Spanish DVD Release)
Subtitles: N/A (German DVD Release), N/A (Spanish DVD Release)
DVD Release: Xcess (German DVD Release), Filmax (Spanish DVD Release)
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (German DVD Release), Region 2 PAL (Spanish DVD Release)
Retail Price: OOP (German DVD Release), OOP (Spanish DVD Release)


Synopsis: Tommy is a new recruit garrisoned at Fort Cobb. The Calvary is conducting a purge of Indians (who have fled starvation on the reservations) and massacre a helpless village of mostly women and children. Tommy falls off his horse and is unconscious through it all, but runs across the sole survivor of the attack, Sunsirahe. The two bond together out of circumstance and necessity, facing many adventures and adversities on their trek North to Fort Cobb.
 
This is a Spaghetti Western, so it shouldn’t be surprising that Fort Cobb was in Oklahoma, in the adjacent Comanche nation, rather than the Apache. It was made during the twilight years of the genre and reflects a harsh and brutal portrait of the wild west (and humanity in general) that is bleak and unforgiving, much in the vein of Keoma released the same year. Racism, hatred, greed, betrayal, hypocrisy, and violence all manifest themselves at every bend of the river. Also splashing around are bits of nudity and gore.
 
In between blossoms the ‘odd couple’ romance between Sunsirahe (‘Apache’) and Tommy. Yara Kewa is beautifully convincing and just plain beautiful as the titular character, and her brief nude scenes are highlights. But it’s the sleazy bit parts that really carry the film, and though direction and cinematography pale in comparison to Leone, the casting and ‘character’ performances repeatedly bring the master’s work to mind – they are that good. Also worthy are the intelligent and complex script and the exceptionally effective (though not iconic) musical score.

Availability:

There are two OOP PAL releases, Spanish and German. The Spanish release is interesting because it cuts not only the violence and nudity, but much of the thought provoking (and possibly inflammatory) dialog. These nine minutes of cuts are scattered throughout the film, so suffice to say that if you haven’t seen the 86 minute [German] version then you haven’t really seen the film.
 
Apache Woman is a nihilistic western that presents love, understanding, and self sacrifice as noble and superior to the more base instincts, but not necessarily as victorious. It is an odyssey in every respect, and an unjustly overlooked and obscure swan song of the Spaghetti Western era.

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