Taken from Catherine Arley’s French novel, La Femme de Paille, 1964’s Woman of Straw is a largely forgotten murder mystery featuring a prime Sean Connery and Italian sex symbol Gina Lollobrigida. While it’s not a great film, Woman of Straw offers some interesting psychological twists and a rare opportunity to see Sean Connery play the bad guy.

Connery plays Tony Richmond, responsible for managing the affairs of his elderly, rich, wheelchair-bound Uncle Charles (Ralph Richardson). A vile man, Charles is racist and unapologetically misogynistic. Unfortunately for Tony, he has also stipulated that the bulk of his fortune be given to charities he cares nothing about. Charles’ new nurse, Maria Marcello (Lollobrigida), is one of the only people willing to tell him just how evil she thinks he is.

It comes as no surprise to find out that Tony is cooking up a plan to murder his uncle. While he intends to inherit Charles’ estate, Tony’s motivations are far more personal. He’s incensed at how his uncle humiliated his father, by luring his mother into a sexual relationship. Tony tells Maria of his plan, offering her almost all of Charles’ fortune if she will agree to marry him. Maria agrees to the plan.

Though Maria wonders if she can bring herself to get Uncle Charles sufficiently interested in her to marry him, she actually ends up growing strangely fond of him. Soon, the two are married and head off on a sea voyage.  All the while, Tony pretends he doesn’t approve of the union, knowing it will push his uncle to act in the opposite manner. Shortly after the wedding, Charles decides to change the will and leave everything to Maria. Once again, Tony acts as if he does not approve. Now, with the new will in hand, Tony needs only to deliver it to the registry office when they return to shore. Unfortunately, the next morning, Maria finds Charles dead. In order for the will to be valid, Maria and Tony must make it appear that Charles was alive when the will was filed. The trouble begins when police begin to question how and when, Charles died.

A Woman of Straw is fairly predictable, but is somewhat enjoyable because of the work of the three leads. Ralph Richardson is memorable, particularly in the opening scene where his dog bites him. His character oozes nastiness and you can’t help but feel like the dog was completely justified. Sean Connery, just off the filming first two Bond films Dr. No (1962) and From Russia with Love (1963) was at the height of his tough guy sexiness and Gina Lollobrigida does what she does, but the film might have been a bit more fun if she’ been able to vamp it up a bit more.

Presented in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio, Kino Lorber has provided a fine, if not terrific, 1080p transfer. Detail is not particularly notable and there are slight speckles throughout. Nonetheless, colors look natural throughout and there is no noise to speak of. Contrast is consistent. While not reference quality, this transfer has no significant flaws.

The DTS-HD 2.0 audio track handles the material well. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout. Though there is no score, Ralph Richardson’s character plays classical music in the background often and it sounds clear. I did notice one audio dropout prior to a line spoken by Sean Connery.

There are no subtitles included.

There are no extras available.