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  1. #21
    Member Country: UK Shandonbelle's Avatar
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    I really like this film, another poster asked whether men/women find it scary...I found it sinister but not scary, seeing the red hooded child always darting out of sight, it certainly builds tension and is sooo atmospheric, and the natural attraction between Christie and Sutherland makes it very real and convincing I think.

  2. #22
    Senior Member Country: Germany Wolfgang's Avatar
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    Montage from Don't Look Now spliced with Moby's "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?". I think it is rather good.

    This chap has some other good videos up too.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Fox
    The film taps into men's fear of midgets...



    Actually I don't really find it scary at all. I've always thought at heart "Don't Look Now," "Walkabout," "Man Who Fell," Bad Timing," etc. were strange love stories.


    You could be on to something there. Nicolas Roeg only added the famous bed scene because, when he saw the finished film, he felt he had not sufficiently established the strong bond between the husband and wife. He obviously thought it was an important element.

  4. #24
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Don't Look Now and Roeg's red coat

    Anyone who has seen Nicolas Roeg's 1973 film Don't Look Now will remember that little red coat. Peter Bradshaw on the pity and terror it still evokes.

    It is red: red as a wound, or some mutant traffic signal without an amber or a green � the red plastic mac worn by a dead little girl. In director Nicolas Roeg's 1973 movie classic of the English supernatural, Don't Look Now trailer, based on the short story by Daphne du Maurier, this mac is what she is wearing when she drowns in the pond of her parents' English country home. Her art historian father, John, later takes his grieving wife Laura away for a healing trip to Venice (of all the ironic waterlogged places), having accepted a commission to restore a church building.

    There, two strange, elderly ladies persuade his wife that their daughter, Christine, is speaking to them from beyond the grave, and John sees the red plastic mac flickering by the dark canals, as its tiny wearer rushes and scampers by the water's edge. It is a revelation that comes at the same time as the miraculous revival of their sex life. Their daughter has come back, haunting the dark alleys and echoing waterways of Venice, with a message. Is it a message of forgiveness, of love � or a terrible warning?

    All too late, John then discovers a second garment, a bizarre red coat, apparently woollen, like Paddington Bear's duffel coat, being worn by a wizened female-dwarf serial killer who has been terrorising Venice with a string of murders. She claims her final victim, slashing him with a kitchen knife, having first shaken her head enigmatically at him, and us � no, she is saying, you have misunderstood. The red coat symbolises the tonal ambiguity, or superimposition of the erotic and the uncanny. Pathos and grief become fear and horror, overlaid with an insistent sensual charge. The figure in the red coat is both agonisingly vulnerable and menacing, and only in the final moments do we understand that combination.

    The death of John and Laura's daughter is the climax of one of the most disturbing sequences in British cinema. After a leisurely weekend lunch, we see uncollected crockery, cutlery and a wisp of cigarette smoke from an ashtray. The little girl is outside, messing around, playing with a toy soldier, a sort of Action Man with a recorded voice; but for some reason, the recorded voice is not a macho male warrior's but a woman's. Her brother is riding his bicycle. Christine is also playing with a ball, white with a red pattern in the style of Escher, which makes the ball's shape appear to undulate as it rolls along � another touch that subliminally discombobulates the viewer.

    Then there is that red mac. Why on earth is this girl wearing a rainproof mac on a fine, warm summer afternoon? Evidently, she is very attached to it, though a waterproof garment is the most ironically wrong thing to be wearing. Roeg once told me that he had extensively rehearsed this scene with the girl's father present, but with her wearing a swimming costume. When the time came, however, to shoot the scene for real, and the child was fully clothed in the famous mac, the parent simply couldn't stop himself rushing forward and trying to grab his daughter out of the water. Wearing clothes was what made this moment so painful, so transgressive.

    And how exactly does she drown? Common sense would suggest face down, grabbing for the lost ball, attempting to swim, scrabbling, desperately floundering. But no. In a later image we see Christine sinking face up, like Millais's portrait of Ophelia, her face receding like a memory in the depths. Shakespeare's Ophelia is committing a sort of semi-intentional suicide, while Christine's death is a terrible accident, and yet the staging here implies something willed � a grotesque, parodic christening ceremony which is a sinister symbol or prophecy of another death still to come.

    Christine's mother and father are played by Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, and their relationship is the most authentic portrait of a marriage that I think I have ever seen in any film. Watching the movie it is easy to believe that the actors are in fact married, and Roeg's portrait of Venice, with its intelligent, non-tourist locations, is a real vision of a real, working city. And, of course, it is in Venice that John and Laura have sex for the first time since their daughter's death, perhaps the best, tenderest, if not precisely the most real sex scene in cinema history. Famously, Roeg constructs a sequence in which their love-making is interspersed with their getting dressed again and preparing to go out to dinner. Generally, sex scenes in the movies are between couples who are having sex for the first time. This shows a couple having sex for the nth time � having married sex in fact. And it is the disappearance and reappearance of clothing that is so startling: first naked and then clothed and then naked and then clothed, Laura and John demonstrate the routine of married sex, and tacitly make a claim for the intimacy and excitement that triumphantly survives the accomplishment of the sex act itself. Roeg even shows the man post-coitally zipping himself up: that unglamorous, faintly absurd post-sex moment.

    Don't Look Now is drenched with sex and displaced sexual longing, given a dark eroticism by the shadow of death. Roeg and his screenwriters Allan Scott and Chris Bryant made important changes to the original short story: the sex scene was entirely their invention, and it was originally John's wife Laura who wore a red coat, not Christine or the dwarf serial killer. When John sees a vision of Laura in his own future funeral procession in Venice, after she has left for England, it is this red coat that stands out.

    Sex and fear are embedded deeply within the film's DNA in ways that even the movie's biggest fans perhaps might not quite grasp. For Daphne du Maurier, "Venetian" was her private word for lesbian, and she herself had a lifelong struggle to come to terms with her own homosexuality, never far from the surface. Furthermore, "going to Venice" was her private code for having a lesbian sexual adventure. Crucially, Du Maurier herself, long before this story was written, went to Venice to get over the death of someone dear to her � her lover Gertrude Lawrence � and it may have been on this visit (although she made a number of literal visits to Venice) that she herself mistook a dwarf for a child. Denial and fear and excitement are transformed, in this story, into a tale of supernatural longing and horror.

    The movie shimmers with Du Maurier's ghost, and the ghosts of other stories and other connections: she in fact wrote another story set in Venice, entitled Ganymede, about a gay man addicted to his rapture at boys, a story obviously influenced by Thomas Mann's Death In Venice, and Roeg's film has perhaps inhaled some of the unwholesome, narcotic atmosphere of Luchino Visconti's movie version, in which a child is obsessively tracked, in the shadow of death.

    In Don't Look Now, Roeg is careful to exclude, as much as possible, the colour red from his screen, so that Christine's red mac becomes even more starkly visible. In fact, there is one important moment where he permits another red garment to be visible: and that is the cardinal's red hat. It is the cardinal who oversees John's restoration work on the church, an apparently kindly, worldly, enigmatic man who senses some unnamable catastrophe is approaching but can do nothing but pray. The church, like the police, are ambiguous figures of authority, at best watchfully neutral in the calamity that John is facing.

    The colour red has its own history in Venice. In the 16th century, Jews were forced to wear red as a distinguishing mark, a law changed to yellow when it became clear that it made them too much like cardinals. John's agonised glimpses of Christine's red coat has another literary echo: in Proust's Remembrance Of Things Past, the narrator has a famous journey to Venice, and it is in Venice that he sees, in the distance, the distinctive cloak of an aristocratic fraternity, and with a stab of pain it instantly reminds him of the elegant gown worn by his lost love, Albertine � a red gown.

    Director Roeg, his writers Scott and Bryant and, perhaps most importantly, his costume designer, Marit Allen � who went on to work on Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut and Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain � created a shape-shifting garment in that sinister red item. In its two guises, the child's mac and the serial killer's coat, it exemplifies Joyce's two faces of tragedy, pity and terror, the one showing us the effects of our unhappy condition, the other showing its source. The child has died, but the horror of the situation isn't that we are left grievingly alive but that we must join her, and sooner than we think. The red coat conceals someone terrible, a non-child, an anti-cherub of mortality, grinningly shaking her head as she slashes our throat. The awful truth about what's in store for all of us is stripped naked at last.

  5. #25
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Why see �Don�t Look Now�?

    Made in 1973, 'Don't Look Now' was based on an original novel by Daphne du Maurier. So pleased was du Maurier with Roeg�s sensitive treatment of her supernatural tale of a well-heeled couple looking to disconnect themselves from the horrors of their past � the accidental drowning of their daughter � that she wrote him a personal letter of appreciation.

    In hindsight, �Don�t Look Now� is the perfect mixture of Roeg's abilities as a teller of mysterious stories and as one of the most accomplished cinematic stylists ever to peep through a viewfinder. The film smashes up chronology and pieces it back together in a deviously strange order, so we get constant hints and suggestions of dark events to come. Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie are utterly convincing as the central couple who flee to Venice to retain a focus on their messed-up lives.

    The famous sex scene near the beginning of the film is tremendous. It�s erotic, but also mysterious, and there�s no sense that Roeg is using his camera to leer. Even if you�ve seen the film already, just this small scene � the sinewy camerwork, the pre and post-coital movements, the naturalistic emotions, the decor of the room � remains open to infinite readings. Are they really in love? Are they relinquishing their anguish or fermenting it? Have they finally forgotten about their dead child, Christine, and are ready to start again? By the time he made 'Don't Look Now', Roeg already had three movies and some notoriety behind him. His 1970 debut, �Performance�, made with the late Donald Cammell, depicted the counter-culture in the badlands of Notting Hill and so shocked its backers, Warner Brothers, that they shelved the film on delivery. His next film, �Walkabout� (1971), was a rapturous ode to survival and blossoming sexuality and saw two siblings wandering the perilous Australian Outback with an Aboriginal boy as their guide. �Walkabout� is a lot darker than its reputation suggests and offers a barbed critique of the savagery of the urban middle classes.

    �Don�t Look Now� was the film that fully made Roeg's name. It's not a work that can easily be experienced and understood in a single sitting. The flood of visual suggestions is overwhelming, and Roeg throws out endless decoys. Like the eccentric Italian police chief to whom Sutherland speaks when he believes his wife is missing, Roeg makes it our job to decide what is truth and what is fiction.

  6. #26
    Senior Member Country: Germany Wolfgang's Avatar
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    It appears they did really do it after all:

    'Don't Look Now' sex scene WAS real, claims new book | Mail Online

    Forthcoming Peter Bart Book Answers Long-Simmering Question About Julie Christie Sex Scene (NSFW) - Hollywood Reporter

    Peter Bart, former editor of Variety was then working for Paramount and is on set when it was filmed. This is what he had to say:

    "It was clear to me they were no longer simply acting: they were fucking on camera."

    According to Bart, he then had the following whispered exchange with Roeg:

    Bart: Nic. Don't they expect you to say "cut?"
    Roeg: I just want to be sure I have the coverage.
    Bart: His dick is moving in and out of her. That's beyond coverage.

    So there you have it. It was the Seventies.

  7. #27
    Member Country: UK Houdi Elbow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfgang View Post
    It appears they did really do it after all:

    'Don't Look Now' sex scene WAS real, claims new book | Mail Online

    Forthcoming Peter Bart Book Answers Long-Simmering Question About Julie Christie Sex Scene (NSFW) - Hollywood Reporter

    Peter Bart, former editor of Variety was then working for Paramount and is on set when it was filmed. This is what he had to say:

    "It was clear to me they were no longer simply acting: they were fucking on camera."

    According to Bart, he then had the following whispered exchange with Roeg:

    Bart: Nic. Don't they expect you to say "cut?"
    Roeg: I just want to be sure I have the coverage.
    Bart: His dick is moving in and out of her. That's beyond coverage.

    So there you have it. It was the Seventies.

    "So there you have it"?!?

    Just because someone who's remained silent all these years while the debate raged on but now has a book to sell suddenly comes out with this it must be true?

    I'm not buying it, such scenes were (and are) filmed on a closed set with only essential crew present, so Paramount executive or not he simply wouldn't have been there.

  8. #28
    Senior Member Country: Germany Wolfgang's Avatar
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    I guess both Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie can sue him then for libelling them. It's one thing to spread rumours, quite another to publish them as hard fact in your book.

  9. #29
    Member Country: UK Houdi Elbow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfgang View Post
    I guess both Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie can sue him then for libelling them. It's one thing to spread rumours, quite another to publish them as hard fact in your book.
    So publishing something in a book automatically makes it "hard fact"?
    And is it "libel" or just prurient gossip-mongering that doesn't even deserve to be dignified with a response...?

  10. #30
    Senior Member Country: Germany Wolfgang's Avatar
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    Well obviously it's libel because he's defamed their names in his book.

  11. #31
    Member Country: UK Houdi Elbow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfgang View Post
    Well obviously it's libel because he's defamed their names in his book.
    If you say so, m'lud.

    The point is, who cares if they actually "did it" or not, this tittle-tattle just deflects attention away from the overall brilliance of the film.

    The title of this Forum is YOUR FAVOURITE BRITISH FILMS and Don't Look Now is indeed my favourite British (and non-British for that matter) Film - my first viewing, incidentally, being an early BBC screening sans swearing and that scene!
    The film sees Roeg at the height of his film-making powers, showing just what can be achieved with the medium when you get the perfect marriage of Director, Script and Cast (not to mention the Music and Cinematography) and it remains a timeless classic ripe for discover by each successive generation, yet sadly most people's first/only exposure to it comes through this tired (and tiresome) "did they or didn't they" debate...

  12. #32
    Senior Member Country: Germany Wolfgang's Avatar
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    I would completely agree with that. There have probably been better film made, but better made films I'm not sure. But who cares how you discover something, if it makes people watch this film that's good right?

  13. #33
    Member Country: UK Houdi Elbow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfgang View Post
    I would completely agree with that. But who cares how you discover something, if it makes people watch this film that's good right?
    That's a good way to look at it - you're obviously far more magnanimous than me!

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