[box cover]

Don't Look Now

Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland star in Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now (1973) as John and Laura Baxter, a couple whose young daughter has drowned accidentally. He's a restoration expert working on a Venice cathedral, and everything that surrounds the couple in the wet and Gothic city serves to remind them of the tragedy. Laura starts to come out of her funk when she meets two creepy English sisters, Wendy and Heather. Heather is blind, and psychic; she tells Laura that she's seen their daughter, and that she's happy — but that the couple must leave Venice, because John is in danger. John, gifted with more than a little "second sight" himself, tries to convince Laura to stay away from the crazy ladies; but almost everything around him starts to take on the feel of portents, including a series of grisly murders, a terrifying accident in the church, and a little girl in a red raincoat who John sees down dark alleyways. Roeg has a canny ability in Don't Look Now to make the most mundane appear sinister — it's a fiendish exercise in keeping the audience wondering what has significance, what's merely happenstance, and what are true signs of something horrible around the next corner. Water, mirrors, sightlessness, photographs ... Roeg piles the images and symbols on thick, but these things all come together to make a compelling puzzle, even when the artfulness is overly self-aware. Based on a story by Daphne Du Maurier, there are several moments in the film that understandably evoke Hitchcock. More surprising is the similarity in tone, feel and tension to Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, only without the ponderous tedium of Kubrick's (much) later work. Paramount's DVD release of Don't Look Now offers an acceptable transfer of the film in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1), though it's obvious that this title didn't get much priority as far as care was concerned. The source print is a little dirty and quite grainy, but the color is bright and, thankfully, the darker scenes aren't at all murky. The Dolby 2.0 Surround audio (English and French) is similar — serviceable, but unremarkable. English subtitles, keep-case.
—Dawn Taylor

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