This British-Italian suspenser, in which the horror gets to one almost subliminally, as in Rosemary's Baby, is superior stuff. It can be 'read' on two levels: as simply a gripping tale of mysterious goings-on in a wintertime Venice or dealing with the supernatural and the occult as related to the established patterns of life and society.

This British-Italian suspenser, in which the horror gets to one almost subliminally, as in Rosemary’s Baby, is superior stuff. It can be ‘read’ on two levels: as simply a gripping tale of mysterious goings-on in a wintertime Venice or dealing with the supernatural and the occult as related to the established patterns of life and society.

Story itself is concocted from a Daphne du Maurier short story about a young British married couple who shortly after the accidental death – or was it? – of their daughter get involved in some strange happenings in a wintry Venice where the man is restoring a church.

A chance meeting in a restaurant with two sisters, one of them blind and suggesting she’s ‘seen’ and spoken to the dead child, sets things moving, with puzzling detail following puzzling detail in a mosaic of mystery which crescendos right up to a twist finale.

It’s the fillips, visually introduced by director Nicolas Roeg in glimpses and flashes, that make this much more than merely a well-made psycho-horror thriller.

The performances are right on the button; Donald Sutherland is (unusually) at his most subdued, top effectiveness as the materialist who ironically becomes the victim of his refusal to believe in the intangible; Julie Christie does her best work in ages as his wife; while a superbly-chosen cast of British and Italian supporting players etch a number of indelibly vivid portraits.

Editing too, is careful and painstaking (the classically brilliant and erotic love-making scene is merely one of several examples) and plays a vital role in setting the film’s mood.

Don't Look Now

UK - Italy

Production

Casey/Eldorado. Director Nicolas Roeg; Producer Peter Katz; Screenplay Allan Scott, Chris Bryant; Camera Anthony Richmond; Editor Graeme Clifford; Music Pino Donaggio; Art Director Giovanni Soccol

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1973. Running time: 110 MIN.

With

Julie Christie Donald Sutherland Hilary Mason Clelia Matania Massimo Serato Renato Scarpa
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