Friday, December 2, 2011

Nerd Girl of Note #137: Maura Monti

Before Pam Grier was Coffy (1973), and before Meiko Kaji was The Scorpion (1972), Maura Monti played a female action hero in the 1968 Luchador film La Mujer Murciéglo, aka The Batwoman. Monti is an Italian born Mexican import who had appeared in a previous Luchador film, Santo el Enmascarado de Plata vs La Invasión de los Marcianos (aka Santo vs the Martian Invasion, Alfredo B. Crevenna, 1967) , and later in Blue Demon Destructor de Espías (Blue Demon Spy Destroyer, Emilio Gómez Muriel, 1968).

The interesting thing about The Batwoman is that she is a female hero who is not motivated by revenge. In that sense she is more a Barbara Gordon Batgirl than her better known compatriots Coffy and The Scorpion. Her motivation is fighting crime, not getting back at her tormentors. Now, that does not make her a purely Feminist heroine. She does run around in a bikini most of the time, however she does not sleep with anyone, nor use her feminine wiles to outdo her opponents. There are only a few rather sexist bits, like The Batwoman fainting when the monster sneaks into her room, and she is scared by a mouse at the end, but mostly it is a pretty solid role.

Like Pam Grier, Maura Monti is quite the athletic specimen for a time when women did not take up athletics. I will hazard a guess that the few in-the-ring scenes with The Batwoman are not done by Monti (the actress wrestling wears a full-body outfit, and is clearly of a different build), but it is clear she is at least a strong swimmer, and the fight scenes she is certainly performing are no worse than most.

Now, clearly we are talking about a film that DC could easily sue over, and perhaps did. It is a total Batman ripoff. Aside from the dead parents angle, she is very much Batman, and many of the visuals are similar to the Batman television series. Her mask is totally an Adam West mask. It is not tongue in cheek, and does not try to be as campy as Batman was, but really, it is plain where they were going with this.

Fortunately, some kind soul has done a nice job of adding subtitles to this film and put it on Youtube. Big ups to Bubba Shelby for letting us know. There are a few weird things in the translation, but it gets an A+ from this gringo with little Spanish in his utility belt. You can check it out here.

Bikinis are not just for swimming, but there is a fair bit of that to justify it.

Escape from "El Reptilicus"
I am not judging, but this is clearly not the same woman as above.

Remember kids, throwing acid is wrong. Even at mad scientists. Also, see the monster? That's what happens when Ultraman has unprotected sex with a Sleestak.
Like El Santo, the mask stays on. Well, mostly.

Alter-ego: a rich woman who uses her fortune to fight crime... They are clearly ripping off Iron Man. Gah!

"Yes, I'm wearing a bikini. Now can we get on with your report?"


Bubbashelby said...

No one has ever looked better in a Batkini.

I still wish I could get this on DVD so I could just pop it on the tv anytime I wanted, but at least it's there on Youtube.

Thanks for the mention, and for the link on the sidebar too!

Darius Whiteplume said...

NP, trying to use my powers for good ;-)

If you use Firefox, you could use the Download Helper add-on to save it, then maybe some DVD authoring software to make a standard DVD. It appears to be on DVD, but not sure if it has subtitles.

T. Roger Thomas said...

While I do like the costume from La Mujer Murciéglo, I find it hard to believe that it's the best choice for fighting crime.

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