Ms. 45

Overview

Undeservedly thrashed by mainstream critics in its initial theatrical run, this stylish urban thriller from quirky director Abel Ferrara has since developed a modest cult following. The late Zoe Tamerlis stars as Thana, a mute seamstress in New York's Garment District who is raped by two different assailants in a single evening -- once on her way home, a second time in her apartment by a sleazy burglar (Peter Yellen). She manages to bludgeon her second attacker to death with an iron, keeping his .45 automatic and...
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Overview

Undeservedly thrashed by mainstream critics in its initial theatrical run, this stylish urban thriller from quirky director Abel Ferrara has since developed a modest cult following. The late Zoe Tamerlis stars as Thana, a mute seamstress in New York's Garment District who is raped by two different assailants in a single evening -- once on her way home, a second time in her apartment by a sleazy burglar (Peter Yellen). She manages to bludgeon her second attacker to death with an iron, keeping his .45 automatic and disposing of his body one piece at a time in various locations throughout the city. When a bystander tries to apprehend her after watching her dispose of another grisly piece of evidence, she shoots him dead with the automatic. This act of violent release triggers a latent misanthropic impulse in the waifish Thana -- who was not very stable to begin with -- and she begins pumping hot lead into any predatory male she can find. The bloodbath continues unabated until the surreal, Sam Peckinpah-inspired climax, in which our anti-heroine escapes a Halloween party to square off against multiple male foes while wearing a nun's habit and blood-red lipstick. This film could be viewed as a distaff version of Ferrara's Driller Killer; where the director's previous effort was purely nihilistic, with a killer driven by urban decay, here he depicts Thana as a gun-toting agent of revenge who seems to have absorbed the collective anger of wronged women everywhere -- including women exploited in other movies of the same genre.
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Special Features

[None specified]
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
This terse revenge fantasy makes no apologies for its astronomical body count and queasy gore. Instead, it focuses on creepy details to drive home its not-so-subtle point about the aggression women face at every turn in the urban jungle. From the mundane horror of a rapist's cellophane mask to the casual leer on a boss' face at work, director Abel Ferrara's camera impassively takes in the myriad predators, actual and potential, who clutter cleverly named heroine Thana's path like so many panhandlers. For her part, star Zoe Tamerlis invests her speechless character with a quiet dignity that slowly evolves into stylish sexual agency; it's as if the only way Thana can become conventionally "hot" is to kill all potential sexual partners. Whether you read the protagonist's transformation from demure worker bee to avenging vixen as S&M window-dressing or feminist irony, it certainly makes for some arresting images. For every expertly choreographed assassination scene, though, Ferrara also adds a handful of throwaway detail shots: spare bullets, bloody irons, broken windows, and streetwalker accessories. The well-cast supporting characters likewise lend nuance to the story -- especially the meddlesome landlady, the imperious fashion plate, and the wise-cracking, tough-talking coworkers who present the film's alternate visions of femininity. Ultimately, despite its small budget and no-frills feel, Ms. 45 presents a self-contained meditation on sex roles that stands up to repeated viewing in a way few pure action films can.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/25/2000
  • UPC: 014381908626
  • Original Release: 1981
  • Rating:

  • Source: Image Entertainment
  • Aspect Ratio: Alternate Wide Screen (1.78:1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Mono / Dolby 5.1
  • Sound: Dolby Digital, monaural
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:20:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Zoe Tamerlis Thana
Bogey Phil
Albert Sinkys Albert
Darlene Stuto Laurie
Helen McGara Carol
Nike Zachmonoglou Pamela
Jimmy Laine First rapist
Peter Yellen Burglar
Editta Sherman Mrs. Nasone
Vincent Gruppi Heckler on corner
S. Edward Singer Photographer
Stanley Timms Pimp
Faith Peters Prostitute
Lawrence Zavaglia Arab
Alex Jachino Chauffeur
Jack Thibeau Man in bar
Jane Kennedy Seamstress
Wayne Caro Office Boy
Mariana Tripaldi Buyer
Scott Covert Buyer's Assistant
Karen O'Shea Model
The Kog Bum
Cindy Green Waitress
Nancy Ulrich Photographer's Girlfriend
Eddie Sanchez Central Park Gang Member
Larry Chua Central Park Gang Member
Omar Patino Central Park Gang Member
Robert Allen Central Park Gang Member
Daniel Goodine Central Park Gang Member
Michael R. Chin Couple Kissing
Gerri Igarashi Couple Kissing
Edward Eisele Man from Georgia
Evelyne Smith Bag Lady
Patrick Loughran Couple on Desk
Eileen Trotta Couple on Desk
Bobby Weismann Party Host
Alvin Moore Detective
Nicholas St. John Detective
Steve Daskaiwisz Policeman
Paul Varni Guy on Street
John Scarangella Guy on Street
Aris Sakellariois Guy on Street
Ben Falk Blind Man
Michael Minaro Band Member
Robert North Band Member
Robert Fish Band Member
Harry Maurer Voice Only
Beth Ann Lonergan Voice Only
Technical Credits
Abel Ferrara Director
Christopher Andrews Editor
Sue Dalton Special Effects
Joe Delia Score Composer
Richard Howorth Associate Producer, Production Manager
Mary Kane Associate Producer, Production Manager
James Lemmo Cinematographer
Ruben Masters Art Director
John P. McIntyre Sound/Sound Designer
James Momel Cinematographer
Lisa Monteleone Makeup
Nicholas St. John Screenwriter
Matt Vogel Special Effects
Rochelle Weisberg Executive Producer
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Scene Index

Chapter Selection
0. Chapter Selection
1. Main Title; Garment Center - Manhattan [3:41]
2. Violated [9:54]
3. Slice And Dice [6:05]
4. Over The Edge [10:11]
5. Photo Finish [5:47]
6. Looks That Kill [9:57]
7. Flirting [6:05]
8. Barfly [4:19]
9. Walking The Dog [6:35]
10. The Halloween Party [6:58]
11. Going Postal [5:22]
12. End Credits [5:13]
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Menu

Side #1
Feature Start
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