This sexploitation “documentary” is considered the most unusual and controversial film of the late Doris Wishman, “Queen of the Nudies” and the filmmaker behind such oddball grindhouse flicks “Nude on the Moon”, “Too Much Too Often!” and the Chesty Mogan death-by-breast-smothering movies.
“Let Me Be a Woman” is sort of a “real”, explicit companion piece to Ed Wood’s “Glen or Glenda”. It presents us with many bonafide transexuals, women trapped in male bodies (and vice-versa) who yearn for a sex-change operation to reverse the “monstrous biological joke played on them”. This is where Leo Wollman M.D., P.H.D., doctor, surgeon, psychiatrist, minister, medical writer and on-screen narrator comes in. He tells us “all” about “who, how and why are transexuals”, and at times this feels like one of those well-meaning but rather dopey educational films Troy McClure used to host.
But then there’s this lurid freak show aspect to the whole thing, be it Dr. Wollman’s endless displaying and probing of hormonally induced breasts and hand-crafted genitals or the ridiculously tacky re-enactments of pre and post-op tranny sex scored with hilariously innapropriate Bernard Hermannesque music. And then there’s the pièce de résistance, graphic footage of a patient’s penis being chopped open and origamied into something that vaguely resembles a vagina.
“Let Me Die a Woman” is hardly enlightening, but it’s an entertaining curiosity full of unintentional ‘70s camp and anti-erotic sex scenes.
Playing at Cinéma du Parc on August 8, 9, 15 and 16.