It figures that the sex scene from Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now has become more legendary than the film itself. Forget that Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland were off-screen lovers at the time, the film’s infamous bedroom romp is every bit as devastating and organic as anything else in the film. Easily the most successful film adaptation of a Daphne Du Maurier story (sorry Hitch!), Don’t Look Now is both a chilling horror film and a fascinating portrait of grief. The film’s remarkable dreamlike textures evoke a present constantly slipping into memory. Laura Baxter (Christie) and her husband John (Sutherland) are the parents of a young girl who dies by drowning. Spilling water, a breaking glass, a book (“Beyond the Fragile Geometry of Space”) and a bleeding picture portends the girl’s death while hinting at John’s connection to the world of the dead. In a labyrinthine Venice, John and his wife follow different paths of worship: he helps to rebuild crumbling churches while she ponders the death of their daughter. Roeg’s allusions to sightlessness and his fascination with mirrors and cavernous alleyways evoke a world that is not necessarily disconnected from the afterlife as much as it is unwilling to acknowledge the power of dreams and memory. A lesser writer or director would have cast the woman in the weaker role. As the grieving John, Sutherland spends the entirety of the film looking out at a disintegrating world that demanding his emotional involvement. Tragically, even in death he remains disconnected.
Now almost 30 years old, Don't Look Now may never have looked as good as it does on this Paramount DVD edition. Though grain and dirt is noticeable throughout, color saturation is outstanding and shadow delineation is splendid. The 2.0 Mono soundtrack is serviceable (certainly, Pino Donaggio's score deserved better than this) though a noticeable improvement over the distorted soundtrack that accompanied the Warner Bros. Region 2 DVD edition of the film released earlier this year.
Sadly, nothing but a theatrical trailer is included on this DVD edition of Roeg's seminal Don't Look Now. This is certainly a disappointment for those expecting something a little juicier than the documentary included on the Warner Bros. Region 2 DVD.
Until the Criterion Collection gets its hands on Don't Look Now, keep this DVD in the permanent collection.