Don't Look Now (1973)
May 8, 2015 11:03 AM - Subscribe

John and Laura Baxter (Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie) move to Venice after the tragic drowning of their young daughter. There they encounter eerie visions, omens, psychic sisters and (of course) murders.

Adapted from a short story by Daphne du Maurier and directed by Nicolas Roeg (Walkabout, The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Witches).

This is part of the MeFi Horror Club series. More info on MeFi Horror Club.
posted by brundlefly (10 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Awesome movie, but what was the deal with the scene where the twins are laughing maniacally? Or really most of the scenes with the twins where they aren't directly interacting with the Baxters?
posted by ilama at 12:02 PM on May 8, 2015

Hmmm. When I first posted this the Can I Stream It? page had a ton more options. I just checked and it's available on iTunes at least.
posted by brundlefly at 4:20 PM on May 8, 2015 is unreliable. It often fails to show stuff that's actually available, if you saw things on there as available once, I'd trust that more than the negative result (if not a lot of time has passed).
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:49 PM on May 8, 2015

Upon rewatching this I was struck by the editing. It is really, really good. The opening sequence is the most obvious example with the crosscutting and match cuts, but all throughout the editing is just perfect.
posted by brundlefly at 7:10 PM on May 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

The editing is spectacular in this movie. But just about everything is. The creeping dread and atmosphere is amazing -- how it builds tension out of nearly nothing. Some parts feel so scary and I couldn't even really tell you why.

I really need to watch it again. This movie is amazing and perfect and terrifying. I eyeing the Criterion Blu-ray and will buy it soon.
posted by darksong at 1:32 PM on May 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

I finally managed to get the Blu-ray and have watched it now for the first time. I've read the Du Maurier short story several times though. I have to say, the film did a really good job of developing the same sense of urgency and confusion, the frustration of just missing something really important. And the creepiness of Venice, too, with everything rotting and crumbling away in its decaying beauty.

I didn't expect it to be quite so porntastic though.

I too am puzzled by the shots of the sisters laughing. Unless it was to add creepiness, which definitely worked. And the police sergeant seemed very weird too, almost lascivious. I think it all underscored how nothing was sure, nothing was reliable. I'm going to think on it some more and maybe post again if I put my finger on it better. Great film though, apart from the porno interlude.
posted by Athanassiel at 5:23 AM on May 26, 2015

For the record, I do understand that it was an intensely beautiful and sensitively-filmed meaningful LOVE SCENE that showed how the relationship between husband and wife was surviving the grief of losing their child (never mind the leftover one, just pack him back to boarding school while you gallivant round Venice to try to lose yourselves in your work, or his work anyway since I could never work out if Julie Christie actually did anything). Apparently it only seemed gratuitous to me because I am a prude, not because I thought it was boring. Roeg's explanation that if he hadn't done that, the rest of the film would have had too many arguments between them makes a lot of sense to me though. In case you wondered, Sutherland, Christie and producer Peter Katz all say the scene was simulated, despite rumours to the contrary.

So apparently Roeg's theme for this film was "nothing is as it seems", which not only applies to the sex/love scene, but may explain why the sisters (and everyone else) are so weird and creepy. Even the main characters aren't immune, with John suspected of being a peeping tom and also possibly the murderer, and Laura's weird little smile at the end during the floating cort├Ęge. If I were going to get all film-studenty about it, I'd draw a parallel with the other recurring theme of water and reflections, where the water switches between mirroring illusory realities and predicting futures that may or may not happen.

In conclusion: top film. Would watch again. If you do get a chance to watch the Blu-ray, there's some good extras including Donald Sutherland telling some nice anecdotes about working on the film, and a four-minute Danny Boyle version made for the BAFTAs.
posted by Athanassiel at 9:55 PM on May 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

a four-minute Danny Boyle version made for the BAFTAs.

Holy crap, what? I need to look for this.
posted by brundlefly at 10:58 AM on May 28, 2015

It's pretty good. Long interview with Danny Boyle as well, who apparently counts it as one of his favourite films.
posted by Athanassiel at 5:55 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Sorry, to clarify, Boyle's cuts are pretty good. The quality of that Youtube sucks. But it gives you an idea!
posted by Athanassiel at 5:57 PM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

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