International DON'T LOOK NOW (1973) - A brief review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Dick, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    DON'T LOOK NOW (1973)
    Directed by Nicolas Roeg. Starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. Based on a story by Daphne Du Maurier.
    Optimum Blu-ray edition:
    Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
    111 Minutes. 2.0 Mono LPCM.
    Image quality: This is a tough call. Not great. The image has been cleansed of film grain and has a waxy, video-like appearance much of the time. I sent an e-mail to Optimum about my disappointment and they responded that the Blu-ray had been personally supervised by director Roeg, and I am mystified he sanctified it. The colors are pretty outstanding and the contrast and black levels are fine, but this almost total absense of grain is bothersome to me, and added to this there is distracting noise in a number of shots. Still, it beats the you-know-what out of the old Paramount domestic DVD.
    Sound quality: Nothing special, Optimum did correct the shrill, distorted track of their earlier DVD release. It now sounds very acceptable.
    Bonus material:
    Here is where the disc shines. Audio commentary by Nicolas Roeg (I'd have loved to have heard also from editor Graeme Clifford, whose work here depicting largely non-linear time and space is astonishing); A 20-minute retrospective, "Looking Back"; interviews with Donald Sutherland, composer Pino Donaggio, Danny Boyle (!) and others, and a trailer.
    This is the uncut, uncensored version of the film, reinstating a few snippets from shots during the lovemaking sequence between Christie and Sutherland that were deemed too much for American minds to deal with (don't you just love the thought of a roomful of aging, sexually repressed members of the MPAA deciding we can't handle a couple additional seconds of genuine passion?).
    DON'T LOOK NOW has remained a favorite of mine since I first saw it in 1973. I had been hoping Paramount might get this out on Blu-ray themselves, or license it to Criterion or Olive, but I could not resist this U.K. release the minute the pre-order was announced. Yes, I am disappointed, but it does in many respects look quite splendid...it simply fails to look like projected film. I consider it a placeholder until a better transfer comes along.
    This is without doubt one of the trickiest, but most genuinely moving (and frightening) films I have seen in my 62 years, seething with atmosphere (off-season Venice, which is seen here to be a kind of decaying hell in which every shadow exudes great menace). It is slow and requires both patience and attentiveness, which many modern viewers would be unprepared to bring to a showing of it. But it has a mind-blowing pay off, which almost demands a repeat viewing very soon after to see how the pieces fall into place (and they do!). Whole books and lengthy magazine articles have been written about this film, and I consider it to be one of the dozen or so finest examples of pure cinema ever.
     
  2. Ronald Epstein

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    Wow!

    I just stumbled on this thread by sheer accident.

    One of my favorite horror films that I never completely understood.

    I completely agree that this is one of the best films of its genre.

    This is available on Blu-ray? Where can I buy it today?

    Interesting...the Paramount DVD release a few years back was
    supposed to be a censored version. Someone made a mistake
    and somehow the the International uncut version was in the final
    pressing.

    One of these days I really would like to get into in-depth discussion
    of this film and what the ending of it means. Despite my confusion,
    I still think this is a remarkable piece of cinema.

    Thanks for the review, Dick.
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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  4. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Just finished watching this film.

    Have to agree with Dick's assessment of the video quality. It does
    seem waxy and noisy in some areas. Still better than the DVD.

    Each time I watch this film I understand it more. However, there is
    one scene in the middle of the film that to this day has me completely
    baffled:






    Why are the two sisters in their room laughing over a picture? It

    almost seems like they are laughing as if they have conned the
    married couple.



    I would recommend the Blu-ray purchase. I just wish that the transfer
    wasn't bogged down with what seems to be some overprocessing.
     
  5. Steve Tannehill

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    I saw this as a kid (edited, on network TV) and the ending gave me nightmares. I have not seen it since.
    Just ordered the blu-ray...it will be nice to view this uncut, as an adult.
     
  6. Oliver Siegel

    Oliver Siegel Stunt Coordinator

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    Fantastic movie!Hopefully,Criterion release it in US
     

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