Don’t Look Now (1973)

dont look now poster 1973 movie
9.5 Overall Score
Acting: 9/10
Story: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Creepy, atmospheric, great acting by Sutherland and Christie


Movie Info

Movie Name: Don’t Look Now

Studio: Casey Productions

Genre(s): Horror/Drama/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s): October 16, 1973

MPAA Rating: R

dont look now drowning child donald sutherland

Pure anguish

After the drowning of their child, John and Laura Baxter (Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie) take time to rebuild their relationship while working in Venice.  John Baxter is haunted by fleeting images of a child in a red hood resembling his daughter while Laura Baxter seeks comfort from a pair of psychics (Hilary Mason and Clelia Matania).  As John’s distrust of the psychics grows, the psychics feel John is denying the truth that could lead to disaster.

Directed by Nicolas Roeg, Don’t Look Now is a horror suspense thriller.  The film adapts the 1971 short story “Don’t Look Now” by Daphne Du Maurier which was first published in her collection Not After Midnight.  The film was released to critical acclaim and has gained a cult following over the years.  Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film (Criterion #745).

don't look now sex scene julie christie donald sutherland

Did they or didn’t they?

Don’t Look Now was one of those movies I heard about long before I saw it.  As a fan of horror, the movie promised a “shocking ending” (which I managed not to learn before I saw it) and it also had a scandalous “did they, or didn’t they” do it within the film.  As a result, Don’t Look Now is a classic, but it is also truly a great film.  Due to the crafting of the story a *******Spoiler Alert******* is in effect for the rest of the review.

The movie is a story of loss and what can and cannot be believed about life and death.  You have two characters mourning in two very different ways.  Sutherland’s broken father wants to just glaze over his daughter’s death and bury himself in his work while Christie’s wants to remember her daughter while also accepting that she is gone and in a better place.  Both characters are tested by the arrival of the psychics who offer peace to Christie and torment to Sutherland who begins experience his own latent psychic abilities…but horribly confuses the message.

dont look now julie christie ending gate

I told you we should have gone to Jamaica!!!

Sutherland and Christie are great and at the time of the film were a couple.  This leads to a scene which has gone down in film history as a potential reveal of actual sex on camera.  In a skillfully directed scene, the characters are both dressing for dinner and undressing for a night of passion…the realism of the scene does leave you questioning if the characters went all the way (the scene was actually cut short to receive the R Rating).

The movie is shot around the fall streets of Venice which are not the beautiful scenes you expect when you envision the city.  Italy looks cold and empty and as a result scary.  There are rats, dead ends, and the city is like a maze…which intertwines with the story to make a great feeling of dread.

dont look now ending dwarf woman razor blade

A true “what the hell” terrifying moment

The movie culminates in a completely terrifying ending that kind of defines the film.  Throughout the movie, Sutherland has been haunted by the image of a child in a red raincoat (what his daughter was wearing when she drown).  Sutherland reads the signs wrong and finds the ties to his daughter.  It turns out to be a horrible dwarf woman with a razor blade…and the deaths being seeing around Venice are a result of a serial killer.  Sutherland is killed and his visions come true, but he pays the price.

Dread and fear go hand-in-hand but dread is so much harder to make.  Don’t Look Now makes it look easy.  You know something bad is going to happen and you don’t want it to happen to this couple that has already had so much happen to them.  Like every cult movie, don’t look now has been floated around for a remake…I hope it doesn’t happen.  Check out Don’t Look Now…but once you see, don’t spoil it for anyone else.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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