Friday, 20 March 2009


Most of the obituaries for Natasha Richardson* have focused on her stage performance as Sally Bowles in "Cabaret" and her most recent appearances in blandly forgettable blerk like "The Parent Trap" and "Maid in Manhattan".

However, Richardson, in 1990, appeared in one of my favourite films from a favourite writer and director,
"The Comfort of Strangers" from Paul Schrader, a very faithful, often word-for-word adaptation by Harold Pinter of Ian McEwan's short novel.

Someone I worked with back then who had always struck me as a bit precious had seen the film and announced that "it made him want to have a shower afterwards to take the grime off".

Which was all the encouragement I needed to rush out and see it and, lordy lordy me, I took me a right shine to that there fillum, yessiree.

I even went out and bought the book. And the soundtrack. And I haven't showered since.

Schrader's not exactly prolific, the last film I saw being his 2007 straight-to-dvd
"The Walker", about which I remember absolutely nothing beyond being thoroughly confused as to what the fuck it was about. Woody Harrelson was in it. I do hope he had a nice time, and was paid properly and the catering was acceptable.

That was Schrader's first film since he was tossed off
"The Exorcist: The Beginning" in 2004 and then tossed back when that film tanked and finally allowed to present his version of the story, "Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist".

I've seen neither, and have no desire to.

But I loved Schrader's film about Bob Crane,
"Auto-Focus" and he also did a fine job with a little seen adaptation of a very uncharacteristic Elmore Leonard novel, "Touch" in the late '90's. Then there's his fine and justly praised work as screenwriter for Scorsese during the 70's and 80's.

However, "The Comfort of Strangers" is still my favourite film from Schrader and nothing he's done since has approached it's lushly indulgent wallow in the multitude of perversities that bedevil us odd mortals.
Angelo Badalamenti wrote the excellent score ...

*A more comprehensive obituary of Richardson is

From 1990, Angelo Badalamenti "Theme from The Comfort of Strangers"


Anonymous said...

Schrader also made the original Blue
Collar in 79. I remember it at the Syd Film Festival


Terry Wright said...

Where is ya gone, Ross?

Ross Sharp said...

I'm still here, Terry! See my most recent post for an explanation. Thanks for sticking around!

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