Let Me Die a Woman-Movie Review

Let me Die a Woman Film Review-Doris Wishman

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Let Me Die a Woman

Dir. Doris Wishman
USA, 1978
35mm 78 min.

Doris Wishman was the most prolific female filmmaker in the history of the American cinema. Loved and reviled with equal vigour, Wishman had completed 30 films at the time of her death, primarily nudies, roughies, and other underground exploitation fare.

Let Me Die a Woman, produced towards the end of her peak period, may be the first commercial documentary on the subject of transsexualism, and the public response was incendiary, due to the graphic surgery scenes, her haphazard directing style, and the questionable treatment of her subjects and actors (which include Harry Reems and Vanessa De Rio in sequences lifted from her other films).

" One of my fondest memories of ol' 42nd Street was seeing this at the Anco Theater and watching the audience go absolutely berserk. And who could blame 'em? This, God help us, is a Doris Wishman mondo-style documentary on sex change, complete with surgical footage I still can't watch.

A sort of 'GLEN OR GLENDA' goes to Hell. Dr. Leo Wollman, "MD, PHD, doctor, surgeon, psychologist, minister, and medical writer," lectures us from cue cards, discusses dildos, and acts as tour guide through a rather motley group of transsexuals, occasionally prodding them with his pointer."
(Frank Henenlotter, director of Basketcase)