The Ape Woman

The Ape Woman (Italian: La donna scimmia, French: Le Mari de la femme à barbe) is a 1964 Italian-French drama film directed by Marco Ferreri. It was entered into the 1964 Cannes Film Festival.[1] The film was inspired by the real-life story of Julia Pastrana a 19th-century woman exploited as a freak show attraction by her manager Theodore Lent.

The Ape Woman
Film poster
Directed byMarco Ferreri
Produced byCarlo Ponti
Written byRafael Azcona
Marco Ferreri
StarringUgo Tognazzi
Music byTeo Usuelli
CinematographyAldo Tonti
Edited byMario Serandrei
Release date
  • 1964 (1964)
Running time
100 minutes

In 2008 the film was selected to enter the list of the 100 Italian films to be saved.[2][3][4]


Marie, the "Ape Woman" (Annie Girardot), is completely covered with hair; the entrepreneur Focaccia (Ugo Tognazzi) discovers her in a convent in Naples; he marries her (a condition imposed by the nuns) and begins exhibiting her to the public. He tries to sell her to a man who insists on her virginity, but she is a little reluctant. After tasting success in Paris, she dies during childbirth. Focaccia recovers her mummy from the museum of natural history and exhibits it in Naples.


  • Ugo Tognazzi as Antonio Focaccia
  • Annie Girardot as Maria
  • Achille Majeroni as Majoroni
  • Filippo Pompa Marcelli as Bruno
  • Ermelinda De Felice as Sister Furgonicino (as Linda De Felice)
  • Elvira Paolini as Chambermaid
  • Ugo Rossi as Ponszoner

See also


  1. "Festival de Cannes: The Ape Woman". Retrieved 28 February 2009.
  2. Massimo Bertarelli, Il cinema italiano in 100 film: i 100 film da salvare, Gremese Editore, 2004, ISBN 88-8440-340-5.
  3. Massimo Borriello (4 March 2008). "Cento film e un'Italia da non dimenticare". Movieplayer. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  4. "Ecco i cento film italiani da salvare". Corriere della Sera. 28 February 2008. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
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