Seduction Cinema presents
Female Animal (La Mujer del Gato) (1969)
"I'm going to spend the rest of my life right here—in bed."- Angelique (Arlene Tiger)
Stars: Arlene Tiger, Vassili Lambrinos
Other Stars: Andre Landzaat, Jean Avery, Robert Darchi, Richard Fusco, Tito Bonilla, Belen Rios, Camille Monte, Nico Hartos, Iris Avenir, harold Kieth, Joanne Sopko, Mary Rysz
Director: Juan Carlo Grinella
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nudity, sexual content)
Run Time: 01h:31m:56s
Release Date: 2002-06-25
Genre: late night
DVD ReviewIn the late 1960s and early '70s, foreign exploitation pictures were doing a thriving business in the U.S. Cinemation, a distribution company headed by marketing genius Jerry Gross (who would kick off the Blacksploitation genre in 1971 with Sweet Sweetback's Baad Asssss Song and later produce camp classic I Spit on Your Grave), had been successful bringing over European erotica such as 1968's Fanny Hill (not Russ Meyer's earlier version) and Inga, and decided to make their own film—La Mujer del gato (Female Animal) was the result, directed by Gross under the pseudonym Juan Carlo Grinella. To further pass off the picture as a foreign entity, it was fronted by a collection of bogus credits for Spanish and Italian production companies, with credits in Spanish. The film was shot on location in Puerto Rico, starring Arlene Tiger (aka Arlene Sue Farber), who had previously played in Gross' Girl on a Chain Gang and Teenage Mother, and would go on to play in The French Connection.
We are first introduced to Angelique (Tiger) getting some religion as it were—after which her client, a preacher, lectures her on her lifestyle. We then flash back to the bulk of the story, events leading up to her life of prostitution. Orphaned when she was younger, Angelique lives with a relative's family, but the woman who is now raising her has nothing but contempt for the girl, figuring her a useless slut. After his car ran her off the road, Count Medicci, the island's rich owner, hires Angelique to work as the new maid on his estate, with the condition she stay away from his son. Alain is a spoiled rich boy, constantly begging his father for money to buy expensive toys. There is a marked and competitive animosity between the two men, and Alain can't help but try to grate on his father's nerves by pursuing Angelique, which she reluctantly deflects. When she becomes the pawn in their battle of egos, her naïve nature is put to the test.
Apart from being a fake foreign film, Female Animal has some interesting things going for it. Shot in scope, the cinematography and locations are well done, and there is no cheapness to the production. The acting is pretty good all around, and the story takes some unexpected twists. As an exploitation piece it has the obligatory soft core sex scenes and nudity, and like Gross' earlier Teenage Mother, which used actual birthing footage, this one has a feature scene involving a cat, which is about as close to the "animal" part of the story as things get. No sixties film is complete without a halucinogenic sequence, and as expected the musical soundtrack is very period, though with a European influence. Both the introductory sex scene and final sequence (in which Jerry Gross makes a cameo as a pimp, sealing Angelique's fate) could have been changed to make a better overall picture, since they are the weakest part of the story. Ironically, both were added after the film was finished.
While I couldn't deem this high art, like many similar pictures from this era, there is a decent blend of story and erotica, and like other titles from the Retro Seduction Cinema collection, is quite interesting from a historical perspective.
Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B-
|Aspect Ratio||2.35:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: The nonanamorphic 2.35:1 transfer, made from the original 35mm negative, has a fair share of nicks and scratches. Colors are good for the most part, but in places are somewhat faded, and in contrast, others look unnaturally vibrant. There is a green tinge to some interior scenes, outlining one side of the face. Aliasing is pretty evident throughout, which doesn't enhance the otherwise scenic photography. For the most part this looks pretty decent for a late 1960s exploitation film, but source issues aside, there is some room for improvement.
Image Transfer Grade: B-
Audio Transfer Review: Mono audio is reasonably good for a film this age, with a decent frequency coverage. There is some edginess on dialogue, which is also a bit over sibilant. In keeping with the faux-foreign vein, lip sync is off in many places, giving the impression of a dub.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Inga, Seduction of Inga
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Sam Sherman
Packaging: unmarked keepcase
- Master's Plaything featurette
The disc also includes a Misty Mundae 28m:46s short, Master's Plaything which, unlike the feature, is your basic, shot on video, cheap exploitation film. Ruby Larocca co-stars as the master's wife, who takes in Mundae as their personal servant and love slave. Like the storyline, the image and audio quality are pretty mediocre.
Trailers for Female Animal plus Joseph Sarno's Inga and its sequel, Seduction of Inga are also included.
23 chapter stops are in the film, but there is no chapter menu for instant access.
Extras Grade: C
Final CommentsOn its own, Female Animal presents an above average 1960s exploitation experience, but as was the case with Retro Seduction Cinema's The Naughty Stewardesses, the additional commentary track allows a different appreciation for the film and its producers. Considering everything about this picture was fictitious, I don't expect a better version to surface any time soon.
Jeff Ulmer 2002-06-24