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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Must-have movies: Don't Look Now (1973)



    Don't Look Now is the only film ever to have simultaneously raised the bar for explicit sex and psychological horror, revelled in the narrative power of imaginative editing, and ensured that a generation of parents would never, ever buy their children a red plastic raincoat.



    Adapted in 1973 by director Nic Roeg from a Daphne du Maurier novella, it centres on John and Laura Baxter (Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie), who, after the death of their daughter Christine, go to Venice, where he is restoring a church. There they encounter a pair of old sisters, one of them clairvoyant, who claims she can "see" Christine between them – laughing, but also warning John of danger.



    As well as coaxing career-best performances from the leads, and beautifully capturing the sinister side of Venice, Roeg's masterstroke was his subtle but powerful interweaving of strange motifs and images. In the opening sequence, this allows him to convey absolute horror while giving us only fleeting glimpses of the drowning child. Instead, we get the before (Christine, in shiny red mac, playing by the deep pond in the Baxters' garden; a window pane breaking; John examining a photographic slide of a church interior); and the after (John tearing towards the pond, and then a repeated slow-motion shot of him, mouth agape, as he pulls his cold daughter from the water).



    Christine's actual death is symbolised by the sudden reddening of the slide, when John accidentally spills some water on it. Like blood gushing from a wound, the stain appears to spread from a small, seated figure in the picture – also in a vermilion mac – before engulfing slide and screen.



    Both the mysterious figure and the "red" motif return in the film's similarly distressing climax, but not before the bedroom scene, famously frank but also cut boldly between the passionate tumbles and the calm, subsequent dressing for dinner. The episode radiates warmth, aptly so in that it's the first time since Christine died that John and Laura have slept with each other. Death is lurking in the Venetian shadows, but, 31 years on, this scene remains perhaps cinema's sweetest illustration of love's ability to heal all wounds.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain
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    This is a simply outstanding film, that does not seem to get the recognition today that it undoubtedly deserves.



    rgds

    Rob

  3. #3
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    I agree it's an amazing film as are all made by Roeg. However, I was bought a bright red plastic mac when a small child. It is all now making sense...

  4. #4
    Senior Member Country: Germany Wolfgang's Avatar
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    Production of Don't Look Now at Sheffield Theatres in February:



    Sheffield Theatres - Don't Look Now

  5. #5
    Senior Member Country: UK DB7's Avatar
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    Story Of The Scene: 'Don't Look Now' Nicolas Roeg (1973)

    It regularly appears in those "top 10 sexy scenes of all time" lists, but according to the director Nicolas Roeg on his narration for the recent DVD edition of Don't Look Now the legend of it being improvised is not entirely accurate.

    By Roger Clarke

    Published: 01 December 2006



    Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie are the married couple visiting a wintry Venice after the death of their child. Sutherland's character is a whiskery restoration expert working on the crumbling architecture of the city. After a walk along the side of the San Marco Canal, they walk into what is called Hotel Europa and go upstairs. They talk, she bathes. A naked Sutherland works on his art and architectural drawings. Finally, they have sex. Roeg's technique of intercutting their sex with a later scene of them getting dressed for the evening is justly celebrated - Steven Soderbergh included a homage to it in Out of Sight.



    Roeg used two locations for the scene - the lobby and exteriors are the Hotel Gabrielli just east of the Piazza San Marco. The actual room where the scene takes place is in the slightly more upmarket Bauer Grunwald on the Campo San Moise. The scene was filmed early on in the production - indeed, the first time the couple had ever met - after torrential rain slowed down the outdoors shoot. Christie was by all accounts nervous, but Roeg followed the standard practice of a reduced film crew to make her more comfortable. The scene proved so convincing that rumour still persists that the sex was real.



    The music is worth remarking on. While he was already filming in Venice, Roeg bumped into a producer friend named Ugo Mariotti riding on a vaporetto water-taxi. Mariotti was travelling with the little-known composer Pino Donaggio who had no experience of writing for film. Mariotti introduced them. Roeg was enthralled. Despite resistance from the producers, Roeg persisted in believing that their meeting was fated and he wrote the score for the film; as a result, Donaggio went on to become a very successful film composer - his music for Brian De Palma (in Carrie, for example) being the best known. The piercing, melancholic flute motif in the love-scene is played by Donaggio himself.



    This one piece of warmth in the entire chilly film wasn't improvised as legend has it. Roeg had actually planned the love scene shortly before coming to Venice because he felt the script was too full of arguments between Christie and Sutherland and he wanted something to lighten the mood.



    Perhaps the reason the scene is so powerful, thinks Roeg, is because of their silent desire to have another child and finally overcome a family tragedy that had left them crippled. Roeg notes: "Somewhere in there they'd reached that point - but they wouldn't have spoken it."



    'Don't Look Now (Special Edition)' is out now on Optimum Releasing

  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: Germany Wolfgang's Avatar
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    They have sex in Daphne Du Maurier's story too at exactly that point so I have never believed it is improvised last minute. Maybe he sprung it on Sutherland and Christie at last minute.

  7. #7
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    Im sorry but i never seen the attraction in this film

  8. #8
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    We watched this film again and I liked the way tension is constructed, and how creepy these small alleys and turns become. Sutherland's final run thru the moving fog made me think the smoke-machines were creating ankle-high characters all on their own.

  9. #9
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    It's a unique film for me. Fills you with all manner of emotions and as has been said, is full of tension. Flawless performances and beautifully shot too.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Country: Germany Wolfgang's Avatar
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    Moviedrome introduction broadcast in 2000. No Alex Cox unfortunately:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7s62-rmFic

  11. #11
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    Amazing movie! More beautiful and daring than virtually anything being made today.



    Nic Roeg's first five films are classics imo.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain
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    One of Mrs. Bentley's fav's and without fault from my POV. Certain directors seem to pull a performance out of location, as if it were another, or a major character (Reed, Lean and Welles spring to mind) and this is one of them. If anyone reading this hasn't seen the flick - GET TO IT !

  13. #13
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    I don't find many films scary as such, but I do feel nervy with this one.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Country: Germany Wolfgang's Avatar
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    John Landis on Don't Look Now: "Don't Look Now" - Trailers From Hell



    (Tragically, Landis appears to have fallen upon hard times since he is living in Joe Dante's pool house!)

  15. #15
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    I'd be interested to hear what proportion of male/female posters find this film scarey. For some reason our men friends find it more scarey than our female friends, but no-one can say why. It's not just because the man is the more vunerable one here, it can't be that obvious, can it?

  16. #16
    Senior Member Country: Germany Wolfgang's Avatar
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    It is intellectual horror.

  17. #17
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    Now that is a whole new can of worms.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by patacake
    I'd be interested to hear what proportion of male/female posters find this film scarey. For some reason our men friends find it more scarey than our female friends, but no-one can say why. It's not just because the man is the more vunerable one here, it can't be that obvious, can it?
    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.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Country: UK quippy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patacake
    I'd be interested to hear what proportion of male/female posters find this film scarey. For some reason our men friends find it more scarey than our female friends, but no-one can say why. It's not just because the man is the more vunerable one here, it can't be that obvious, can it?
    I think there are two reasons why its so scary to men.



    Firstly the threat is ambiguous. There isn't a big nasty monster, just a gradually increasing sense of dread and impending disaster.



    Secondly, despite doing his level best to keep the relationship together, the man is still beset by intangible forces of evil that are bent on destroying what's left of his family. I mean, as if it isn't enough to lose your daughter!



    Men like a concrete, tangible basis for everything. That's why DLN is so unsettling.

  20. #20
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    Well, that would make sense, though most of my female friends are very down to earth (apart from the writers/actors/ artists among them..anyone who thinks they can earn a living in the arts needs their head examining! ) but you might be right about the family connection, as the ones I've discussed it with mostly have been working females without a family, like myself, or singles, so the threat to the family wouldn't be foremost in their minds perhaps. The men I knew who have found it threatening have come from a wide range of occupations, though..lecturers, actors, soicitors, etc. Hmmm...very interesting (as they say).

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