Don’t Look Now is a 1973 psychological or psychic thriller, a horror movie that is full of suspense rather than a lot of gore. This film stars Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. The Guardian considers this to be amongst the top five performances given by Sutherland and Christie, like Sutherland, has a long list of credits to her name that include Doctor Zhivago, Finding Neverland and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Venice is the third star in this movie, lending exactly the right atmosphere with plenty of dead ends and wrong turns to create the perfect atmosphere and set. Roger Ebert said that could not picture this film set anywhere else and I agree and The Guardian calls the Venice of this movie mysterious and exotic and untouristy. Once again, I agree.
Don't Look Now tells the story of a couple struggling to get past the death of a child who relocate to Venice and chance to meet two weird sisters, one of whom is psychic. These women appear throughout the movie in a haunting fashion but beware for as the movie tagline says, “Things are not what they seem.”
Here’s the original movie trailer, which has no spoilers in it.
What is there to object to?
This movie is rated R for Restricted so there is a lot to be aware of. There is an accidental death, an extended sex scene and a nasty murder with blood but the movie is really more suspenseful than gory. There is drinking and smoking.
As I expected when we were watching the movie, the sex scene was very controversial in its time. It might be important to note that, although lengthy, the scene is meant to be the beautiful coming together of two married adults who had drifted apart. The Guardian considers the sex scene to be one of the ten best because of the “emotional freight” that comes with it.
The case for this movie says that Don’t Look Now is as renowned “for its innovative editing and haunting cinematography as it is for its naturalistic eroticism and unforgettable climax and denouement” and that it is considered one of the great endings in horror movie history.
In 2002, Roger Ebert said this movie “remains one of the great horror masterpieces” elaborating by saying, that it “works not with fright, which is easy, but with dread, grief and apprehension.” Exactly.
I chose this movie because it was set in Venice and it definitely turned out to be an interesting choice though not perhaps in the way I thought it might. With the warnings mentioned in the preceding paragraph, I would recommend this movie for those who want something different and who are interested in the history of cinema. It does give a peek into the workings of Venice but is definitely not a great travelogue for the city.
Blu-ray.com praises Criterion for the quality of the digital restoration so if you buy this movie, you probably should buy the Criterion Collection version, which will also allow you to watch the special features and learn more about how this movie was made and why it is important to the history of cinematography.
Here’s the trailer for the Criterion reissue in which you will definitely be able to see the improvement of quality from that of the original trailer, which was shown above.
Don’t Look Now is based on a short story by Daphne du Maurier. If you are a reader, it might be a movie to check out in print form prior to or even after watching the movie. Because it was a short story, the movie provides more story than the author's version. You can learn more about or buy your copy of the Criterion Collection's version on Amazon by clicking right here.
By the way, The Guardian and other sources online say that Don’t Look Now is being remade. Given the nature of the story and it’s position as one of Britain’s finest horror stories, there is considerable scepticism about whether this is the appropriate type of movie for a remake. If you watch the film or have seen it, I am sure you will understand why it might be hard to successfully remake this movie.
Will you be watching or reading Don't Look Now? If you have seen it, what did you think? Finally, what do you think of the idea of a remake this movie?
At the movies!
Read more about Don't Look Now from Amazon.
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