thatcow

Would the sequel be "Woman of Wood"?

Sean Connery is Tony Richmond, the nephew of wealthy curmudgeon Charles Richmond. His uncle is a vile, unlikeable sort for a man in a wheelchair, which is perhaps best shown by how he subjects his black servants to such degrading things as playing a kind of leapfrog over each other.

Charles ends up needing a nurse, and Maria (Gina Lollobrigida) is brought in. She is revolted by Charles' behavior, and expresses her revulsion, unlike anyone else around him, whose lives they perceive as, one way or another, dependent on him. She leaves, or threatens to leave, more than once, but gets brought reluctantly back. Perhaps it's because Sean Connery plays that nephew.

And yes, there do seem to be sparks between them, but before anything happens, Tony proposes a different sort of marriage - to his uncle. It seems his current will distributes his money in all the wrong places. If Maria marries Charles, she'll surely be made to inherit the bulk of the estate.

Somehow, this principled woman comes around to the idea - again, it might just be the more affable nephew to blame. Indeed, after the nuptials, the two take great care that their interest remain largely just that. Maria grows to understand, and even care for, Charles. And Tony remains smooth and indistinguishable from all things debonair.

When Charles unexpectedly dies before his new will is properly registered, we tiptoe on the edge of farce, but the strength of the characters keeps the script on track. We pass through a number of incredible plot twists by the time the remarkable ending finally ties everything up.

It's wonderful to find these older films that put character first. They ooze wonderful details from start to finish - the sorts of things we only see occasionally now. I feel I could rate this even higher, but we don't quite have the depth to justify it. The movie pretty much sticks to its own story despite some opportunities to comment on many potentially interesting to subjects. But Woman of Straw remains a delightfully frisky film.

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