Woman of Straw (1964)
“IT’S SO EASY TO SET FIRE TO “A WOMAN OF STRAW””
Director: Basil Dearden
Cast: Gina Lollobrigida, Sean Connery, Ralph Richardson
Synopsis: Tyrannical but ailing tycoon Charles Richmond becomes very fond of his attractive Italian nurse, Maria. The nurse, in turn, falls in love with Charles’ ne’er-do-well nephew Anthony…
With two James Bond outings under his belt, Sean Connery couldn’t have been hotter in 1964, and yet he chose this oddity as his first post-Bond release. There’s a good hour-long story embedded in the two-hour Woman of Straw, but because of its extended running time, you’ll have to wait until the last half-hour before your interest is piqued. Connery plays the nephew of cantankerous and crippled old business tycoon Ralph Richardson, who hires nurse Gina Lollobrigida to care for his uncle. However, Connery has an ulterior motive, to marry Lollobrigida off to Richardson so that she can one day inherit his £50 million fortune and pass one-fiftieth of it on to him when she does. Naturally, Connery has a hidden agenda, and it’s a refreshing change to see him playing a smooth urbane villain instead of a smooth urbane hero, but the film takes so long establishing its characters that, by the time the story picks up you’re not that interested. And unfortunately a good twist is spoiled by a poorly devised resolution.
(Reviewed 15th April 2012)