Cult Movies 101- Episode 17: Let Me Die a Woman

let_me_die_a_woman_poster_01“Let Me Die A Woman” is a nauseating attempt to exploit the strangeness and confusion of adults living with gender issues that is unintentionally hysterical.

The film was put together by the queen of sleaze, Doris Wishman. During her career, Wishman specialized in putting together Z-grade movies by making false promises to the audiences and that was the type of business the exploitation genre thrived on.

A good example of that would be, “A Night to Dismember” which was composed entirely of footage from the various theatrical trailers. The movie’s negative was destroyed in a fire, and instead of just losing her investment, she released a very odd incoherent picture from excerpts of the original with disasterous narration.

In “Let Me Die A Woman,” she released a pseudo-documentary that promises to show footage from the actual surgery of a man becoming a woman and boy does it deliver. A strong warning to people with weak stomachs, because this movie is not for everyone.

This was a horrid attempt to make a hygiene picture, which were popular in the 1940’s. A hygiene film (“Mom and Dad”) deals with taboo issues, and exposes the audience to the hairy in-depth detail of it all. The film would also charge a little bit more for the admission and urge children to bring their parents, so they can discuss the issue.

Our guide through this deprived journey is “sex specialist” Dr. Leo Wollman, who appears to be a depraved homeless man and not a real doctor in anyway. According to his introduction, he is also a minister. Throughout the film he seems to be reading off cue cards for the simplest of dialogue. If he is a doctor, then one’s heart must go out to his patients.

One of the funniest scenes involves Wollman administering therapy to a supposed group of transsexuals. None of the transsexuals appear authentic and one elderly one seems to have been dragged out of the grocery store and forced to wear a wig.

It does however sprinkle in some real transsexuals and provides a lengthy interview with Leslie, a Puerto Rican transsexual. This is a tedious interview, with a person that appears to suffer from a lack of intelligence and common sense and can’t not shed any light on the actual surgery.

Then we have cameos from adult film stars Harry Reems and Vanessa Del Rio who are dramatizing actual cases from Wollman- or is this supposed to be actual footage? That is never made clear.

On top of all of this dishevelment, there are large amounts of bizarre nudity scenes that are cringe inducing.

If your curious to know what the experience of seeing this film on the old 42nd street of New York then a chapter of Bill Landis’ novel “Sleazoid Express” details that experience and may save you a plethora of time and energy.

This whole discombobulated package is a rare treat that can’t help but make you laugh. None of it seems sincere and that never stopped Wishman from releasing the movie.

Maybe that is why her name endures in the exploitation universe.

About Anthony Benedetto 153 Articles
I have always had a tremendous passion for the cinema. For me, movies provide a great escape. When done right, the characters and stories are something that I am instantly drawn into. Over the years, I’ve unintentionally become a movie encyclopedia that I often find myself the recipient of late night phone calls from my friends while at Blockbuster [One such conversation between the Editor of this site and the film “Redbelt” immediately comes to mind.] As far as my preferences go however, I love both the cult cinema and the classics. My love of film ranges from features such as “Amadeus” to “Sorority Babes in the Slime Ball Bowl-A- Rama.” I have a long range of film heroes as well that include, Michael J. Fox, Lloyd Kaufman, Robby Benson, Michael Caine and Jeff Bridges. On this site, I hope to teach people about cult cinema and have them rent films that they normally would not, turning you into the monster that I have become. Someday, I hope to be the star and director of my cult film, employing the old stop motion techniques used in films like “Flesh Gordon.”

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