Posted on: Jun 2nd, 2023 By:

by Anthony Taylor
Contributing Writer


Welcome to Apes on Film! This column exists to scratch your retro-film-in-high-definition itch. We’ll be reviewing new releases of vintage cinema and television on disc of all genres, finding gems and letting you know the skinny on what to avoid. Here at Apes on Film, our aim is to uncover the best in retro film. As we dig for artifacts, we’ll do our best not to bury our reputation. What will we find out here? Our destiny.


THE SUNDAY WOMAN (La Donna Della Domenica) – 1975 Limited Edition
4 out of 5 Bananas
Starring: Marcello Mastroianni, Jacqueline Bisset , Jean-Louis Trintignant
Director: Luigi Comencini
Rated: Not Rated
Studio: Radiance Films
Region: A
BRD Release Date: 05/02/2023
Audio Formats: Italian: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono with English subtitles
Video Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p HD from new 2K Master
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1, 1.85:1
Run Time: 109 minutes


Luigi Comencini’s THE SUNDAY WOMAN presents itself as many things to the viewer, the most often singled out of which is “giallo,” a title that refers to the Italian stalking-murderer-wearing-black-gloves style mystery genre of which the early 1970s cineastes were so fond. However, it seems least of all a gialli (the singular) and more an exercise in determinance of how art affects the small slice of society presented as a cross section of Turin, and just how effective art can be as a weapon. Specifically, in this case, the large and heavy terra-cotta phallus sculpture that the killer uses in committing acts of violence.

In fact, the film seems quite determined to examine all facets of artistic influence on its characters. The first victim is a degenerate but well-known architect, Garrone (he is almost always referred to in dialog as, “the architect Garrone”) played by Claudio Gora. His death sparks an investigation by police commissioner Santamaria (Mastroianni), which leads him to ennui-filled housewife Anna Carla Dosio, played by Jacqueline Bisset. The two, of course, trade sideways glances while Santamaria begins to dig further and pursues Dosio’s friend Massimo Campi (Trintignant), who mostly just wishes to hush up a homosexual affair and spit witty insults. What a cast, huh?

Through a combination of humor and grotesquery, Comencini reveals a layered group of characters, all of whom are capable of razor-sharp self-defense in terms of dialog, but vulnerable by emotional damage. The investigation revolves around – wait for it – yet another objet dé art, an artifact of historical importance attached to a local property, which is never truly endowed with enough value to justify the murders. Art then is relegated as the McGuffin, the murder weapon, (perhaps even the murders themselves) and the prevailing currency throughout the narrative. It is valued, de-valued and personified as a character unto itself, maintaining a role greater than any of the film’s stars (or plot).

The screenplay by Carlo Fruttero, Franco Lucentini and Agenore Incrocci crackles with dialog that runs from witty to perceptive to obtuse yet poignant, and stands out as a reason the cast of heavyweights may have been attracted to the project. Again, the plot isn’t really the point here, but it does circle back around to make sense in a rudimentary fashion. Come for the walky, stay for talky – even though it’s presented in Italian with English subtitles. I have to say that whoever translated the dialog did a great job in preserving the spirit of the original Italian – there were moments when I laughed out loud (they were brief, don’t judge me). As good as facets of the movie are, ultimately as a murder mystery, it’s an amusing view of how society divides and unites us in times of extreme stress and boredom.

Radiance Films’ presentation of THE SUNDAY WOMAN is sourced from a brand new 2K transfer and looks great. No visible damage or artifacts were apparent in either of the aspect ratios presented. I preferred 1:85.1 (the original), but the 1:33.1 (the aspect ratio for television at the time) does seem to have a bit more original picture top to bottom. Audio was richly mixed, highlighting Ennio Morricone’s disappointing score. You know how when, for instance, Elmer Bernstein  might not quite have lived up to expectations for a film but it was still a Bernstein score? Yeah, this wasn’t that.

Bonus materials with the disc include a newly filmed interview with academic and Italian cinema expert Richard Dyer; an archival interview with cinematographer Luciano Tovoli ; a newly filmed interview with academic and screenwriter Giacomo Scarpelli, who discusses the life and work of his father, Furio Scarpelli and his writing partner Agenore Incrocci; an archival French TV interview with Jean-Louis Trintignant; a reversible sleeve featuring designs based on original posters; and, a limited-edition 24-page booklet featuring new writing on the film by Mariangela Sansone and a reprint of an archival piece on the film. The disc is limited to 2000 copies.

THE SUNDAY WOMAN will be challenging for some viewers, but worth the investment. It would have been a wonderful addition to include an archival English dub, if one exists, but it’s certainly not worth creating a new one – the subtitles were fine.


Anthony Taylor is not only the Minister of Science, but also Defender of the Faith. His reviews and articles have appeared in magazines such as Screem, Fangoria, Retro Fan, Famous Monsters of Filmland, SFX, Video WatcH*Dog, and many more.

Ape caricature art by Richard Smith.

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