Paul Schrader

The Comfort of Strangers

The Comfort of Strangers

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. Rupert Everett and Natasha Richardson are the prey, a beautiful British couple working on their relationship while on holiday in Venice; Christopher Walken and Helen Mirren are the hunters who draw them into the sinister web of their opulent, old-world palazzo. What plays out is an unsettling, sado­masochistic seduction imbued with an atmosphere of sumptuous dread by the elegantly gliding tracking shots of cinematographer Dante Spinotti, lush score by Angelo Badalamenti, and carefully controlled direction of Paul Schrader, who choreographs a mesmerizing pas de quatre of sustained erotic and emotional tension.

Film Info

  • Paul Schrader
  • Italy, United Kingdom
  • 1990
  • 104 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.66:1
  • English
  • Spine #1041

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by cinematographer Dante Spinotti and approved by director Paul Schrader, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interviews with Spinotti, Schrader, actor Christopher Walken, and editor Bill Pankow
  • Interviews from 1981 and 2001 with novelist Ian McEwan and actor Natasha Richardson
  • Trailers
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Maitland McDonagh

New cover by R. Leveille

Purchase Options

Released Aug 18, 2020

Special Features

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by cinematographer Dante Spinotti and approved by director Paul Schrader, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interviews with Spinotti, Schrader, actor Christopher Walken, and editor Bill Pankow
  • Interviews from 1981 and 2001 with novelist Ian McEwan and actor Natasha Richardson
  • Trailers
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Maitland McDonagh

New cover by R. Leveille

The Comfort of Strangers
Cast
Christopher Walken
Robert
Natasha Richardson
Mary
Rupert Everett
Colin
Helen Mirren
Caroline
Manfredi Aliquo
Concierge
David Ford
Waiter
Daniel Franco
Waiter
Rossana Canghiari
Hotel maid
Fabrizio Castellani
Bar manager
Giancarlo Previati
First policeman
Antonio Serrano
Second policeman
Mario Cotone
Detective
Credits
Director
Paul Schrader
Produced by
Angelo Rizzoli Jr.
Screenplay by
Harold Pinter
Based on the novel by
Ian McEwan
Director of photography
Dante Spinotti
Production designer
Gianni Quaranta
Edited by
Bill Pankow
Music by
Angelo Badalamenti
Costume supervisor
Mariolina Bono
Wardrobe provided by
Giorgio Armani
Executive producer
Mario Cotone
Associate producer
Linda Reisman
Associate producer
John Thompson

From The Current

The Comfort of Strangers: Significant Others
The Comfort of Strangers: Significant Others

The sensibilities of three inimitable storytellers—Ian McEwan, Harold Pinter, and Paul Schrader—complement one another in this slow-burning erotic tale of two couples in Venice.

By Maitland McDonagh

A Different Kind of Script: Paul Schrader on the Literary Origins of The Comfort of Strangers
A Different Kind of Script: Paul Schrader on the Literary Origins of The Comfort of Strangers

In this archival interview, the director talks about the distinctive literary sensibilities of Ian McEwan, whose novel serves as the film’s source material, and Harold Pinter, who wrote the screenplay.