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The Sunday Woman (Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

A detective must navigate the world of affluent socialites to investigate the murder of a prominent architect with a lot of enemies.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

The Sunday Woman or La Donna della Domenica is the Italian comedy-mystery from director Luigi Comencini starring Marcello Mastroianni, Jacqueline Bisset, and Jean-Louis Trintignant.

In the world of the elites in Torino, an architect is murdered by being bludgeoned by a large stone phallus. A detective (Mastroianni) enters the world of these elites to uncover the culprit, where he meets socialite Anna Carla Dosio (Bisset), who becomes his prime suspect.

Mystery and murder seem to be wedded to each other, from the writings of Doyle to Agatha Christie. While the stories those writers told could have a direct line drawn from them to the police procedurals that flood our airwaves today, some mysteries just are not as serious. The Sunday Woman falls into this lattermost category. Where there is a murder to solve in this, it almost serves as a MacGuffin to the real purpose of the film, which is to set the issues of sex and class in a comedy of manners that is more in line with Buñuel’s The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie. Even the manner in which the victim is killed is like satire.

The film zips along through what are almost like little vignettes, such as a raid on an area where the local “working women” gather at night behind an elderly woman’s home, or a spat between gay lovers who also become key in the investigation. In fact, there is an ever-growing list of locals we are gradually introduced to who become involved in investigating the crime alongside the police to the point where it becomes farce. If there is meaning in this farcical mystery, it is perhaps that status — and ultimately sex — kills as will become abundantly clear as more is revealed about the victim.

  • Jacqueline Bisset in The Sunday Woman (1975)
  • Jacqueline Bisset and Jean-Louis Trintignant in The Sunday Woman (1975)
  • Jacqueline Bisset and Marcello Mastroianni in The Sunday Woman (1975)
  • The Sunday Woman (Radiance_RAD004BDLE-US)
  • The Sunday Woman (Radiance_RAD004BDLE-US)
  • The Sunday Woman (Radiance_RAD004BDLE-US)

The Video

The Sunday Woman was scanned in 2K from the original camera negative and restored by Studio Cine, Rome. Additional color grading and correction was performed by Radiance. The film is presented in both the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio and an alternative 1.85:1 aspect ratio as intended by cinematographer Luciano Tavoli, who oversaw both aspect ratios and shot the original 1.33:1 while keeping in mind and shooting the alternate 1.85:1. The film is presented on Blu-ray from Radiance in an AVC 1080p encodement for both versions.

I looked at both versions of the film and both look beautiful, with organic granularity, natural flesh tones, and no issues with edge enhancement or haloing. With that said, putting aside questions of variances in the framing of scenes and so on, the 1.33:1 version looks better to my eyes with a crisper look by a small but noticeable degree. The 1.85:1 version is definitely softer, but still looks very, very good and should not be considered anything other than optimal. The differences between the two would likely not be noticed by most without a direct comparison.

The Audio

Radiance has done additional restoration on the audio for The Sunday Woman, which is included in Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono for both versions of the film. The audio is about as good as can be expected for what is ultimately a dubbed soundtrack from 1975. The dialogue sounds clear and there is not much noise or clipping.

The Supplements

In their limited time releasing films on home video, Radiance has already developed a consistency in the high quality of bonus features and this release is no different. The number of interviews, such as the one with cinematographer Luciano Tovoli, plus the newly recorded film appreciation, are all informative and must-watch. The reversible sleeve, booklet with essays, and information on the transfer make it very collectible for cinephiles.

  • Richard Dyer (1080p; 00:18:15) – A newly filmed appreciation of the film by academic Richard Dyer, who explores the many layers hidden within The Sunday Woman, including the themes of class and sexuality. Shot exclusively for Radiance in December 2022.
  • Luciano Tovoli (1080p; 00:22:11) – An archival interview with cinematographer Luciano Tovoli about The Sunday Woman, filmed by Federico Caddeo in May, 2008.
  • Giacomo Scarpelli (1080p; 00:36:01) – In this interview Italian scholar Giacomo Scarpelli discusses his father, writer Furio Scarpelli, who adapted the script for the film with long-term partner Agenore Incrocci. Shot exclusively for Radiance in October 2022.
  • Jean-Louis Trintignant (1080p; 00:04:28) – An interview with actor Jean-Louis Trintignant about The Sunday Woman for the French TV show Allons au Cinéma, first broadcast April, 1976.
  • Trailer (1080p; 00:03:38)
  • Reversible sleeve featuring designs based on original posters
  • Limited edition 24-page booklet featuring new writing on the film by Mariangela Sansone and a reprint of an archival piece on the film
  • Limited edition of 2000 copies, presented in full-height Scanavo packaging with removable OBI strip leaving packaging free of certificates and markings

The Final Assessment

The Sunday Woman does not hit like a strong murder mystery, but as a light comedy with a subtext about class and sexuality, it is pleasant enough and contains fine performances from the leads. Radiance delivers the goods on the restoration and bonus features. Recommended.


The Sunday Woman is out on Blu-ray April 18, 2023 from Radiance.


  • Rating Certificate: R
  • Studios & Distributors: Les Productions Fox Europa | Primex | Twentieth Century Fox | Radiance
  • Director: Luigi Comencini
  • Written By: Carlo Fruttero | Franco Lucentini | Agenore Incrocci
  • Run Time: 103 Mins.
  • Street Date: 2 May 2023
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 (OAR) | 1.85:1 (DOP Alternative AR)
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: Italian DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono
  • Subtitles: English
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A detective must navigate the world of affluent socialites to investigate the murder of a prominent architect with a lot of enemies.The Sunday Woman (Blu-ray Review)