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August 21, 2012

Movie Review: Let Me Die A Woman (1977)

As a gentleman, one of the most splendid body parts that I myself have attached to my doughy body, is my wang. Yes, I’m being honest here. He’s my pal. Whenever I’m unhappy, the wang is unhappy. Whenever the wang is tired , I’m tired..and so on. The last thing I would ever contemplate doing would be the severing of the glorious gristle. The thought of separation from one of my best pals in the world (right next to my Labrador) is something I surely couldn’t fathom. But I don’t have gender dysphoria either which sadly plagues Leslie's existence, the star of Doris Wishman’s film, Let Me Die A Woman. Doris Wishman (Deadly Weapons, Nude On The Moon, Double Agent 74)has given numerous offerings to the exploitation genre, but none like this. Thankfully, Synapse Films sees the brilliance of Let Me Die A Woman by giving the royal treatment in the form of a new special edition of the Wishman oddity.

Buy Let Me Die a Woman on DVD!

Leslie, is a reasonably attractive transsexual devoid of the features common on males (Adams apple, broad chin etc.) , the only difference is , is she’s got dick and despises the fleshy growth. Leslie is on a journey to remove her penis; she’s not the only one, as other transsexuals such as Angela, an African-American man sporting grown breasts via hormones. Let Me Die A Woman is full of medical sequences that explain the processes of the operations and doctors view of gender dysphoria. Within the demonstrations and shots of actual surgery footage we are treated to some very graphic material.

Let Me Die A Woman, to me , is of the same vein as a shockumentary. It has all the same components. The most important component being unabashed shock-value. In a addition to the gnarly medical footage there is a staged sex scene between a man and a pre-op transsexual (Homo-phobes beware!). When badly shot sex isn't taking place, Dr. Leo Wollman takes control of the proceedings. When he’s not on screen ,he’s doing the voice-over. The voice-over for some of the participants is fairly funny. Doris seemed do a lot of that in her films, like Deadly Weapons for instance. The feature does stay serious though with Leslie's sincere determination to become a female.

The extra features for Let Me Die A Woman are excellent. We get trailers, a rare alternate opening sequence, a radio spot and the strongest supplement, an audio commentary with Doris Wishman Archivist, Michael Bowen and the star, Leslie. Bowen does a wonderful moderating the track . Being a biographer for Wishman was certainly helpful to the track. Some interesting bits include –Leslie’s lack of relationship with the other transsexuals in the film as she was shot seperatley. She also was not very fond of the sex scenes that Wishman put into the film. Bowen also contributes some sharp liner notes about Wishman and the production of Let Me Die A Woman.

Synapse has done a superb job both audio and visually. The materials used in this release are the original 35mm negatives, and it shows. No noticeable print damage is present and the colors are retained beautifully. Let Me Die A Woman is also completely uncut! The notorious “chisel” scene is here in all its penile splatter glory.

Let Me Die A Woman is one of the craziest cult films of all time. It’s one-of-a-kind in its presentation because it really does partially work as a serious documentary on transsexualism, but then you add the awful voice-over and Doris’ touch, with the uncomfortable and quite laughable sex scenes - it’s pure exploitation bliss from beginning to end.


  1. Cute and quality review Jeff! I'm going to be giggling over the whole "He's my pal" line all night. I love it that Synapse managed to get Leslie for the commentary. This is definitely a must get.

  2. It's ridiculous, but it's true. Thank you, Heather!