The Comfort of Strangers 1990
Adapting the acclaimed novel by Ian McEwan, playwright and screenwriter Harold Pinter lends his trademark unnerving dialogue and air of creeping menace to this spellbinding study of power, control, and the frighteningly thin line between pleasure and pain.

Colin (Everett) and Mary (Richardson) are second-honeymooning in Venice, warily striving to repair the fissures in their stale relationship. A seemingly fortuitous encounter with the aristocratic Robert (Walken) bemuses them, his evident hospitality sitting uneasily with his unusually frank questions and confessions. But the suave tale-spinner also catalyses what remains of the couple's sexual feelings for each other, and as if mesmerised, they return to the palazzo he shares with his submissive wife (Mirren), only half oblivious to the dangers awaiting them...

Director: Paul Schrader
Cast: Christopher Walken, Rupert Everett, Natasha Richardson, Helen Mirren
Country: USA, Italy, UK
Genre: Drama, Thriller

The Comfort of Strangers (1990) Criterion Collection
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BD50, DVD9 | 1080p AVC, NTSC | 01:44:45 | 45.3 Gb + 7.38 Gb
Language: English
Subtitles: English

Extras:

Paul Schrader - in this new video interview, Paul Schrader recalls how he was offered the opportunity to direct The Comfort of Strangers and how the film was put together, and discusses its key themes and stylistic characteristics. There are some particularly good comments about the casting choices that were made.The interview was conducted exclusively for Criterion in 2020. In English, not subtitled. (18 min, 1080p).

Christopher Walken - in this new video interview, Christopher Walken discusses his contribution to The Comfort of Strangers and Paul Schrader's working methods. The actor also explains how he picked up the accent for this character, which was apparently inspired by Rossano Brazzi's. The interview was conducted exclusively for Criterion in 2020. In English, not subtitled. (6 min, 1080p).

Natasha Richardson - presented here is a new edit of an archival interview with Natasha Richardson which was conducted for the American Film Institute in 2001. In the interview, the actress recalls her contribution to The Comfort of Strangers as well as Paul Schrader's creative instincts and working methods. In English, not subtitled. (7 min, 1080i).

Dante Spinotti - in this new interview, cinematographer Dante Spinotti discusses the visual style of The Comfort of Strangers and how it is linked to the complex relationship the film explores. There are also some interesting comments about Paul Schrader's specific vision of Venice. The interview was conducted for Criterion in 2020. In English, not subtitled. (14 min, 1080p).

Bill Pankow - in this new interview, Bill Pankow discusses the editing of The Comfort of Strangers. The interview was conducted for Criterion in 2020. In English, not subtitled. (15 min, 1080p).

Ian McEwan - presented here is an excerpt from an archival episode of The South Bank Show which Ian McEwan discusses his novel The Comfort of Strangers. The episode was broadcast on November 22, 1981. In English, not subtitled. (27 min, 1080i).

Trailers - vintage trailers for The Comfort of Strangers. In English, not subtitled. (4 min, 1080p).

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The Comfort of Strangers (1990) BFI
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BD50, DVD9 | 1080p AVC, PAL | 01:44:37 | 29.8 Gb + 5.80 Gb
Language: English
Subtitles: English

Extras:

Commentary - in this brand new audio commentary, Paul Schrader discusses in great detail the production history of The Comfort of Strangers, his interactions with Harold Pinter, the evolving themes in the film, the conception of various contrasts that supposedly define the film, etc. The commentary was recorded exclusively for the British Film Institute. In English, not subtitled.

Images of Venice in Archive Film - presented here are three short features, all recently remastered.

1. Venice in War Time (1918) - a Topical Budget item that shows how munitions were moved around the city. With music. (2 min).

2. The Glass Makers of Murano, Venice (1928) - this feature highlights the process of Murano glass making. Taken from the Pathe Pictorial cine-magazine. With music. (4 min).

3. City Lights (1964) - this feature focuses on the export of coal to Venice. Taken from Mining Review. In English, not subtitled. (4 min).

The Guarduan Interview - in this vintage interview, Paul Schrader discusses some of his projects, trends in the film industry, critical responses to his work, certain themes in his work, the anti-religion nature of most films, etc. The interview was conducted by Derek Malcolm in London in 1993. Audio only. In English, not subtitled. (85 min).

Prospectus for a Course Not Given: The Paul Schrader Film Masterclass - in this recorded session, Paul Schrader offers an engaging follow-up to a masterclass that he presented earlier in the United States. A wide range of topics are addressed, from narrative construction and theme management to the importance of tone and style. The session was held at the National Film Theatre in 1982. Audio only. (100 min).

Trailer - a vintage trailer for The Comfort of Strangers. In English, not subtitled. (2 min).

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