Nicolas Roeg's chilling film, based on a short story by Daphne du Maurier, follows a married couple as they attempt to recover from the death of their young daughter. John Baxter (Donald Sutherland) and his wife, Laura (Julie Christie), are staying in Venice in an attempt to find relief after the drowning of their daughter, Christine (Sharon Williams), in a tragic accident. However, the city appears to have an unfortunate effect upon the grieving John, who begins seeing a red-coated figure who resembles the dead child flitting around the local canals. The couple also happen across a pair of sisters who claim to have had visions of their daughter. According to the sisters, the child has been trying to contact John in an attempt to warn him that something terrible is about to happen...
Don't Look Now was filmed in 1973 and based around a Daphne Du Maurier novel. Directed by Nicolas Roeg, it has lost none of its chill: like Kubrick's The Shining, its dazzling use of juxtaposition, colour, sound and editing make it a seductive experience in cinematic terror, whose aftershock lingers in daydreams and nightmares, filling you with uncertainty and dread even after its horrific climax. Donald Sutherland plays John Baxter, an architect, Julie Christie his wife: a well-to-do couple whose young daughter drowns while out playing. Cut to Venice, out of season, where the couple encounter a pair of sisters, one of whom claims psychic powers and to have communicated with their dead daughter. The subsequent plot is as labyrinthine as the back streets of the city itself, down which Baxter spots a diminutive and elusive red-coated figure akin to his daughter, before being drawn into an almost unbearable finale. Don't Look Now is a Gothic masterpiece, with its melange of gore, mystery, ecstasy, the supernatural and above all grief, while the city of Venice itself--which thanks to Roeg and his team seems to breathe like a dark, sinister living organism throughout the movie--deserves a credit in its own right. Not just a magnificent drama but an advanced feat of cinema. --David Stubbs
“Poignant, beautiful and devastating”--Empire
“One of the great horror masterpieces”--Roger Ebert
Widely acclaimed as one of the greatest horror ﬁlms ever made, Nicolas Roeg’s (The Man Who Fell To Earth, Bad Timing) masterful Don’t Look Now is based on Daphne Du Maurier’s shattering short story.
Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie give career-best performances as John and Laura Baxter, an art restorer and his wife struggling to recover from the trauma of their daughter’s accidental drowning. To assuage their grief, the young British couple travel to wintry Venice, on a working holiday to restore a church. Once there, they get involved with two otherworldly sisters, Heather and Wendy (Hilary Mason and Clelia Matania), one of whom is a blind medium who insists she can get them in touch with their late daughter and warns them of danger.
A truly original work that blends psychological thriller with a disturbing sense of the macabre, Don’t Look Now also offers a profound and poignant mediation on love and loss. Making evocative use of its disquieting, out-of-season setting, an emerging generation of directors (not least Steven Soderbergh) have cited the ﬁlm as an inﬂuence, ensuring that its reputation as a modern classic continues to grow.
- Audio Commentary with Nicolas Roeg
- “Looking Back” Featurette
- Excerpt from documentary Nothing Is as it Seems
- Compressed version of Don’t Look Now (made by Danny Boyle for BAFTA tribute)
- Interviews with Composer Pino Donaggio, Danny Boyle, Screenwriter/Producer Allan Scott, Cinematographer Tony Richmond and Donald Sutherland