“I don’t want anybody interfering with my private life.”
A man (Cliff Robertson) devastated by the death of his wife (Genevieve Bujold) and daughter (Wanda Blackman) during a fatally botched attempt to pay ransom after they’ve been kidnapped travels with his business partner (John Lithgow) to Italy 15 years later and is amazed to meet a young woman named Sandra (Genevieve Bujold) who looks remarkably like his wife. He courts Sandra and brings her back to New Orleans with him, but events quickly take a dark turn for Robertson once again.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Brian De Palma Films
- Cliff Robertson Films
- Genevieve Bujold Films
- John Lithgow Films
- Obsessive Love
- Paul Schrader Films
- Widows and Widowers
Critical and personal opinions remain heavily divided on Brian De Palma’s output, with some deriding his overtly realized homages to Hitchcock — in this case, Vertigo (1958) — and others appreciating the unique sensibility he brings to his work. This highly atmospheric thriller — scripted by Paul Schrader — is a mixed bag, offering plenty of tension and suspense but ultimately not quite delivering (IMO) on its promise. With that said, I’ll admit to being surprised at several key moments, and staying relatively invested until the odd but reasonable ending. Of special note are Vilmos Zsigmond’s dreamily diffuse cinematography, Bernard Herrman’s characteristically stylish score (the next-to-last of his career), and Bujold’s performance in dual roles that require much subtlety to pull off.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Genevieve Bujold as Elizabeth/Sandra
- Beautiful on-location shooting in Florence
- Vilmos Zsigmond’s cinematography
- Bernard Herrmann’s score
No, but it’s certainly worth a one time look. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.