Don't Look Now (Blu-ray) (1973)

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Released 28-Aug-2019

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Mystery Audio Commentary
Featurette-Reflecting on Nic Roegís Masterpiece (41:54)
Featurette-A Kaleidoscope of Meaning: Colour in Donít Look Now (15:18)
Featurette-4K Restoration Featurette (6:16)
Interviews-Crew-Death in Venice: Interview with Pino Donaggio (17:36)
Interviews-Cast-Donald Sutherland (23:15)
Interviews-Crew-Screenwriter Allan Scott (14:31)
Interviews-Crew-DP Tony Richmond (23:50)
Featurette-Interview with Danny Boyle (15:10)
Featurette-Donít Look Now: Looking Back (19:31)
Gallery
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1973
Running Time 110:15
RSDL / Flipper No/No
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Nicolas Roeg
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Julie Christie
Donald Sutherland
Clelia Matania
Hilary Mason
Massimo Serato
Case ?
RPI ? Music Pino Donnagio


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 2.0
German DTS HD Master Audio 2.0
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
German
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

ĒNothing is what it seemsĒ

†††† Donít Look Now starts with an idyllic sequence in rural England as restoration architect John Baxter (Donald Sutherland) and his wife Laura (Julie Christie) work inside the country mansion while their two young children play outside, Johnny on his bike and Christine wearing her vivid red mackintosh. Suddenly John has a premonition and runs outside but he is unable to save Christine from drowning in the pond.

†††† The film then switches to Venice where John, accompanied by Laura, is restoring an old church for Bishop Barbarrigo (Massimo Serato) although Johnny remains at school in England. The death of Christine still weighs heavily on the couple with Laura on medication; then one day at lunch Laura meets Wendy (Clelia Matania) and her blind sister Heather (Hilary Mason). Heather is a psychic and, without prompting, is able to describe Christine and tell Laura that Christine is happy and still with them. This comforts Laura, and for the first time since Christineís death she feels content. John, of course, is far more pragmatic and dismisses the psychic out of hand; but he, instead, starts to see in the streets and alleys a small figure in a red mackintosh.

†††† When the Baxterís receive a telephone call from the school that Johnny has had an accident, Laura flies back to England. However, only a couple of hours later John sees Laura dressed in black on a barge with Wendy and Heather. A serial killer is on the loose in Venice so John, fearful for Lauraís safety, goes to the police who arrest the sisters. But when John contacts Laura by telephone in England, the sisters are released and that night Laura returns to Venice in time for the filmís final twist.

†††† Donít Look Now is adapted from a short story by Daphne Du Maurier and was directed by Nicolas Roeg; initially he has a career as a camera operator and then cinematographer, including as second unit director on Lawrence of Arabia (1962), before directing, in a scant few years, a succession of classic films that would grace anyoneís CV: Performance (1970), Walkabout (1971), Donít Look Now (1973) and The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), films in different genres but all recognisably Nicolas Roeg films. Donít Look Now has been called a horror film, but this is to seriously undersell the film. There are indeed aspects of horror, but Donít Look Now is more a psychological thriller with themes including guilt and grief, second sight, precognition and an examination of a loving, but vulnerable relationship, where nothing is what it seems.

†††† Donít Look Now works on many levels thanks to the wonderful cast and the atmosphere of Venice. Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie are simply superb; they are natural and believable together, easily selling the tragedy, tensions and the love within this marriage. It is also often a clichť to note that a location is a character in a film but in Donít Look Now Venice is indeed an essential character. This is not, mostly, the Venice of the tourist sights but a wintery, decaying, somewhat sinister Venice of crumbling buildings and dark, narrow alleys and deserted squares, footsteps echoing across the stones.

†††† By any count, Donít Look Now remains an ageless masterpiece. Made over 45 years ago Donít Look Now received 7 BAFTA nominations (winning one for the cinematography of Tony Richardson) but was totally overlooked for the Oscars, which reflects American ambivalence, or misunderstanding, of the film. The BFI have voted Donít Look Now at #8 in their list of the top 100 British films while on rottentomatoes the critics give the film an 96% approval rating, the audience score a lower, but still healthy for an older film, 77%.

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Transfer Quality

Video

†††† Donít Look Now is presented in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

†††† This Blu-ray features the HD version of the 4K restoration of the film. Donít Look Now is a dark film, often taking place in the narrow alleyways, canals or churches of Venice in winter and the film utilises the muted colours of a decaying, crumbling Venice, grey water and skies, brown and ochre buildings. There are sections of bright, vibrant colours, such as Christineís red mackintosh, and some brilliant blue skies, but these are the exceptions. Within this darkness, shadow detail is pristine, blacks solid. While some wide shots of Venice are a little fuzzy due to the light and haze, close-ups and medium range shots are clear and detailed. Skin tones are natural, contrast and brightness consistent except for some glare. Marks and artefacts were absent and the print evinced prominent grain in some scenes that was not unpleasant.

†††† English subtitles for the hearing impaired as well as German subtitles are available.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

†††† Audio is a choice of English or German (both DTS-MA HD 2.0 stereo) and an English audio commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0).

†††† The English dialogue is not always clear, when the subtitles helped, and there are extensive sections of dialogue in Italian that are not subtitled. This is a film where the audio is sometimes almost silent so when events occur, such as the drowning, Laura fainting in the restaurant or Johnís mishap in the church, the change in sound level is immediate and compelling. There was also sound directed to my subwoofer during the drowning sequence. Elsewhere there are voices, boat engines, footsteps along the narrow alleyways and running feet. The score by Pino Donaggio, often just a piano and / or flute, is poignant and used sparingly, although later in the film an orchestral section is added which underscores Johnís confusion when unexpectedly seeing Laura when he thought she was in England.

†††† There are no lip synchronisation issues.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

†††† The extras are spread across both discs. Except for the commentary, the extras on disc one are new. The second disc contains older extras, many of which have appeared on previous releases of the film.

Disc 1

Audio Commentary by Director Nic Roeg

†††† Roeg sits with Adam Smith and they watch the film. Smith asks Roeg questions as well as prompting him when he hesitates. They talk about wide-ranging things including the opening sequence of Donít Look Now, locations, the cast, the problems of shooting in Venice, Roegís career, shooting style and filmmaking philosophy, the appeal of the material, the love scene, the score, the role of religion in the film, the colours in the film, the filmís reception. Not the liveliest of commentaries but worth a listen.

Pass the Warning: Reflecting on Nic Roegís Masterpiece (41:54)

†††† Made in 2019 the extra uses film clips, black and white and colour photographs and comments from academics, a film critic, a number of directors including David Cronenberg and Danny Boyle, original DP Tony Richmond, screenwriter Allan Scott and wardrobe person Andrea Galer who talk about Nic Roeg and Donít Look Now. Sequences, including the opening, the love scene and the ending are discussed, as is the symbolism of Venice, changes from the short story, the cast, the narrative and the legacy of both Roeg and the film. Some parts of this extra are repeated in other extras.

A Kaleidoscope of Meaning: Colour in Donít Look Now (15:18)

†††† Also made in 2019, a range of academics and directors plus original DP Tony Richmond talk about the use of colour in Donít Look Now including red, blue and the muted colours of Venice plus what the various colours symbolise.

4K Restoration Featurette (6:16)

†††† Made in 2019, DP Tony Richmond and colourist Steve Bearman talk us through the 4K restoration of the film with before and after restoration examples.

Disc 2

Death in Venice: Interview with Pino Donaggio (17:36)

†††† Filmed in 2006, composer Donaggio speaks (in Italian with English (yellow) and German (white) subtitles which can be removed, although it is both or nothing) about how he got hired to do the score for Donít Look Now which was his first film score, Roegís ideas for the score, the various themes, the goal of the soundtrack and his subsequent career.

Interview with Donald Sutherland (23:15)

†††† Sutherland answers questions asked in a text on screen but he is a fabulous and humorous speaker and his answers range far beyond the questions asked as he adds anecdotes about the shoot as well as talk about how he got involved in the film, his character, Julie Christie, stylistic elements of the film, filming in Venice, the love scene and the contrasting reactions to the film in the UK and the US. This interview and the next ones are not dated, but this one seems to have been filmed around 2008, the others later.

Interview with Allan Scott (14:31)

†††† Screenwriter Scott talks about how he became a screenwriter, his approach to writing scripts, meeting Nic Roeg and getting involved in Donít Look Now, the challenges of adapting the short story by Daphne Du Maurier into a screenplay, the non-linear narrative, moments in the film that were not in the script and reactions to the film.

Interview with Tony Richmond (23:50)

†††† Cinematographer Richardson talks about how he got into the film business, music videos, symbolism in the film, shooting in Venice, his thoughts on the love scene, Roeg as director and the non-use of storyboards, the muted colours in the film, his reaction to the finished film.

Interview with Danny Boyle (15:10)

†††† Director Boyle, who was involved in a BAFTA tribute for Roeg, including making a 4 minute condensed version of Donít Look Now, talks about the continued influence of the film and, indeed, of Roegís films, its iconic status and what sort of film it was.

Donít Look Now: Looking Back (19:31)

†††† Made in 2002, this is more an extended interview with Nic Roeg with film footage and additional comments from DP Tony Richmond and editor Graeme Clifford. They talk about the reaction of Daphne Du Maurier to the film, the themes, recurring images and the use of the colour red in the film, the casting, shooting and editing that love scene.

Behind the Scenes Stills Gallery

†††† 11 black and white and colour images; silent, use the remote to advance to the next image.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

†††† There have been various Blu-ray releases of Donít Look Now with a variety of extras. In 2019 Studio Canal released in the UK a restored 4K UHD edition of Donít Look Now, a release that also included a Blu-ray of the restored film, a separate disc of extras and a soundtrack CD. This Australian 2 disc release is the restored Blu-ray plus all the extras.

Summary

†††† With natural and believable acting by Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, a threatening atmosphere, Venice as it is seldom seen (much to the distress of the city councillors who feared it would affect tourism), tension, mystery, death, grief and guilt, forty-five years after being made Donít Look Now remains a masterpiece, a thriller that still stands up as well today as when it was make. Fans should not hesitate. Fans should not hesitate and if you have the old DVD an update is definitely warranted.

†††† The restored video and audio are outstanding, the extras are numerous and genuine resulting in an excellent Blu-ray package of this outstanding film.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, January 06, 2020
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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