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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "The Frightened Woman" or "The Laughing Woman" or "Duo de la mort" or "Gioco d'amore, gioco di morte" )

 

Directed by Piero Schivazappa
Italy 1970

 

In this deliciously twisted pop art extravaganza, Dagmar Lassander plays Maria, a woman employed in the press office of a large philanthropic organization run by the stern Dr Sayer. One Friday she visits his house to collect some journals. She accepts a drink from him and the next thing she knows she is chained to a metal frame in a room bathed in a sickly red light. Sayer tells her she is now his prisoner and he can do anything he likes with her - even kill her.

What follows is an astonishing game of cat and mouse, as Maria uses all her skills to stay alive, while secretly exploring Sayer's weaknesses. As the story progresses we start to see the characters in a very different light. Is Sayer the demonic psychopath he claims to be? And is Maria really the innocent victim?

With its iconic, late 60's production design and a brilliant music score by renowned composer Stelvio Cipriani, THE LAUGHING WOMAN is stylish and sophisticated entertainment that questions all our prejudices and preconceptions about the relationship between men and women. 

***

Beautiful PR woman Maria finds herself trapped in the home of the sinister and troubled Dr Sayer, where she is subjected to a series of increasingly bizarre, terrifying and degradating sex games. Sayer admits that he has murdered several women after the same ordeal, always killing them at the point of orgasm. But all is not what it seems, and this is revealed to be the fantasy of a troubled man. Sayer finds salvation in Maria and falls for her, only for her to turn the tables on him and ultimately reveal that she too is not what she seems.

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 5th, 1969

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Mondo Macabro - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Mondo Macabro - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:30:07.125        
Video

1.85:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,419,990,351 bytes

Feature: 18,293,812,416 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.93 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1509 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Italian
1509 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Mondo Macabro

 

1.85:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,419,990,351 bytes

Feature: 18,293,812,416 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.93 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary from Kat Ellinger
• Interview with Writer/Director Piero Schivazappa (32:51)
• Video essay on the film's production design from Rachael Nisbet (24:57)
• Animated photo-novel by Jacques Spohr (2:56)
• Trailers. (English- 1:39 / Italian - 3:18)
• Exclusive new cover art from Justin Coffee
• Mondo Macabro preview (13:50)


Blu-ray Release Date: February 8th, 2022

Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 10

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Mondo Macabro Blu-ray (April 2022): Mondo Macabro have transferred Piero Schivazappa's The Laughing Woman to Blu-ray. It is cited as being from a "Brand new 4k transfer from film negative, digitally restored". Eric compared two DVD editions of The Laughing Woman to (entitled 'The Frightened Woman') HERE. We compared some captures with Mondo Macabro's 1080P transfer below. It's a significant improvement over SD. Every visual facet is improved on the single-layered Blu-ray with a supportive bitrate five times that of the Shameless DVD. Colors are richer, detail crisper and there is texture.  

NOTE: We have added 72 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Mondo Macabro offer DTS-HD Master dual-mono tracks (16-bit) in the original Italian and an English language DUB. The Laughing Woman has aggressive moments but they come through fairly hollow - which I believe would be accurate to the production. What is highly remarkable is the score by Stelvio Cipriani (Colt 38 Special Squad, The Night Child, Nightmare City, The Blood Stained Shadow, Killer Cop, Rabid Dogs, Baron Blood, A Bay of Blood) that adds notably to the viewing experience via the lossless transfer. Mondo Macabro offer optional English subtitles on their Region FREE Blu-ray.

The Mondo Macabro Blu-ray offers a new commentary by Kat Ellinger, who was probably the perfect choice considering Euro-cult genre of The Laughing Woman. Actually, Kat discusses how this film that resists genre classification, she identifies gender issues and spends a lot of time on Radley Metzger, the pioneering American filmmaker and distributor of popular artistic, adult-oriented films of the 60's and 70's. Kat makes comparisons to Buñuel and Bava, how many adult-envelope-pushing films of this genre link to deeper political themes. She sees an interesting comparison to Mary Harron's 2000 film American Psycho with Christian Bale regarding the absurd levels of masculinity - extensive grooming regime etc. of the protagonist. She sees The Laughing Woman as a comedy - a satire - with a playfulness and absurdity to the film. Once she has said this - it appears obvious now. She observes the end credits referencing Plexus (Henry Miller) and much more. Included is a half-hour interview with Writer/Director Piero Schivazappa where he talks about producer/ writer Giuseppe Zaccariello as an 'unusual person', the treatment of the film and his later work. I enjoyed the 25-minute video essay on the film's production design from Rachael Nisbet talks about the transformative movement in Italy, how the mise-en-scène indicates the shifting roles of the relationship and much more. There are segments of the animated photo-novel by Jacques Spohr, trailers in both English and Italian and the package has both Mondo Macabro previews and exclusive new cover art from Justin Coffee.

Piero Schivazappa's The Laughing Woman is wildly over-the-top. I compare the extravagant stylings somewhat to Mario Bava's Danger: Diabolik. It's glorious in its Italian pop-art beauty - and this emphasizes the film's varied themes and its range from perversity to romance with elements of horror, Giallo, satire, kink, subjugation, dominance and much more. I really enjoyed The Laughing Woman and the strong a/v of the Mondo Macabro Blu-ray plus the extensive extras and commentary make it a very easy recommendation. What a bizarre, transgressive and delightful viewing experience.

Gary Tooze

 


Menus / Extras

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample - Mondo Macabro - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 


1) First Run Features - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shameless Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Mondo Macabro - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) First Run Features - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shameless Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Mondo Macabro - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) First Run Features - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shameless Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Mondo Macabro - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) First Run Features - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) Shameless Entertainment - Region 0 - PAL - MIDDLE

3) Mondo Macabro - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


More Blu-ray Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 

 
Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Mondo Macabro - Region FREE - Blu-ray


 


 

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