Cinema: Grotesque Burlesque

The Ape Woman puts a savage switch on the sly old joke about the monkey who notes hopefully that people look "almost simian."

The ape woman of the title (Annie Girardot) is a freak: a poor thing covered from head to foot with a coat of long, brown, silky hair. The leading man (Ugo Tognazzi), a Neapolitan spiv, finds her working as a scullion in a convent kitchen. "Mamma mia!" he gasps. "She really looks like an ape. I could start a freak show and clean up." The idea scares her half to death. She's not very bright to begin with, and...

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