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Woman of Straw [Blu-ray]
(Basil Dearden , 1964)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Michael Relph Productions
Video: Kino Lorber
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 21,953,147,616 bytes
Feature Size: 21,911,685,120 bytes
Video Bitrate: 21.93 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: April 14th, 2015
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1563 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1563 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Description: Tyrannical but ailing tycoon Charles Richmond (Ralph Richardson, The Fallen Idol) becomes obsessed with his attractive nurse, Maria (Gina Lollobrigida, Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell). The nurse, in turn, falls in love with Charles' money-hungry nephew, Anthony (Sean Connery, The Offence), who plots ways to gain control of his uncle's fortune. This stylish and suspenseful thriller was beautiful shot by the legendary Otto Heller (Peeping Tom) and wonderfully directed by the great Basil Dearden (The League of Gentlemen). Co-starring Alexander Knox (Wilson) as Detective Inspector Lomer.
Richardson is the wheelchair-bound scourge of his family, hated by his nephew Connery, and nursed by Lollobrigida. Connery hatches a scheme to inherit the old man's money by marrying him off to La Lollo, but of course it goes rather awry, with Richardson getting bumped off earlier than expected. Despite good performances from the three stars, and a plot whose convolutions keep you awake, Dearden treats it rather timidly, afraid to go for the dramatic jugular.
One reason Sean Connery made the transition from sexy movie icon to
beloved movie icon is that he almost always played the good guy. But
there are exceptions. In Woman of Straw (1964), playing the
calculating nephew of Ralph Richardson's rich old wheelchair-bound
monster, he schemes with Gina Lollobrigida to murder the old boy.
Connery filmed it just after the first two Bond films
Dr. No (1962) and
From Russia with Love (1963). But not for his oft-stated wish to
avoid being typecast as Bond. It was for a simpler reason. Connery
smarted at being paid only $6000 for the first Bond film, which neither
he nor many others foresaw would become the franchise and cash cow it
remains to this day. He remained bitter over his meager Bond payoffs for
decades. But Bond did catapult Connery into international sexy tough guy
stardom, and Woman of Straw earned him his first million-dollar
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The calculating crime-murder Woman of Straw has made it to Blu-ray from the Kino-Lorber label. The image is fairly heavy without tightness or notable detail. The 1080P looks acceptable in-motion but there are plenty of frame-specific marks and speckles. It is in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Colors appear authentic without manipulation and there was no noise to speak of. It looks consistent but not particularly sharp and crisp. This Blu-ray is single-layered with a modest bitrate but I see no huge flaws in the presentation although it is a little underwhelming when looked at under the magnifying glass.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Kino use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 at 1563 kbps. The film is quite passive with only a couple of more aggressive instances (fishing, storm at sea etc.). There is no score per-se but Ralph Richardson's character Charles Richmond is frequently playing classical music in the background, occasionally quizzing his bride on the composer, from Hector Berlioz and Rimsky-Korsakov to Beethoven and Mozart. It sounds clean and even but there was one instance of a notable drop-out - prior to Connery talking. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
No extras at all.
March 20th, 2015
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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