The Comfort of Strangers

Synopsis: An English couple holiday in Venice to sort out their relationship. There is some friction and distance between them, and we also sense they are being watched. One evening, they lose their way looking for a restaurant, and a stranger invites them to accompany him. He plies them with wine and grotesque stories from his childhood. They leave disoriented, physically ill, and morally repelled. But, next day, when the stranger sees them in the piazza, they accept an invitation to his sumptuous flat. After this visit, the pair find the depth to face questions about each other, only to be drawn back into the mysterious and menacing fantasies of the stranger and his mate.
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Director(s): Paul Schrader
Production: Madacy Home Video
  1 win.
Rotten Tomatoes:
107 min

My father was a very big man.

All his life he wore a black moustache.

When it turned grey

he used a little brush to keep it black,

such as ladies use

for their eyes - mascara.

Everyone was afraid of him.

My mother, my four sisters.

At the dining table you could not speak

unless spoken to first by my father.

But he loved me.

I was his favourite.

I want to call England.

Yes, I want to call England.

No, it's not London.

It's not London.

It's in Sussex. Hastings in Sussex.

You know the code.

You got it for me yesterday.

Well, someone did, yes.

Quattro cinque otto due sei uno.

Hastings, Sussex.

Oh, God!

Can't read this damn book. It's...

It's unreadable.

Can't even bind the bloody thing properly.

Come on, let's go out.

- I'm trying to get through to the children.

- All right. Answer.

Hello. Yes.

Mother, hello!

Yes, lovely.

Yes, absolutely. How are they?

Are they...?

Yes, lovely.

Hello, darling, it's Mummy.

How are you?

Is Cathy there?

Incredible, isn't it?

I think the St Augustine is incredible.


- I don't know.

- Mm. You thought that the last time.

What do you mean?

You thought that the last time

we were in Venice, remember?

Did I?

- Well, so what?

- Nothing, I'm just...

What's the point of saying that?

Why did you say that?

- I didn't mean it as an insult.

- Christ.

- I'm making an observation.

- What observation?

I'm simply pointing out

you haven't changed your mind.

Anyway, I agree with you.

I think it's incredible too.


What is it?


Got another pimple.

Tsk! The giris won't love you any more.

- I must need more salt or something.

- What?

I must need to eat more salt or something.

You don't need salt, you need sex.


- Could I have it with salt?

- Why not?

God! Don't they know I'm trying to shave?


Yes, he is. Hold on a minute.

It's Simon.


I'm only halfway through the bloody thing.

It's unreadable anyway.

This is supposed to be my holiday.

- Those two. Thank you.

- Ventimila.

Ecco una.

This one's for Jack.

- Ecco la seconda.

- And this is for Cathy. What do you think?

They'll be thrilled.

I'm going to do a little drawing of Cathy.

With spots.

And I'm going to do

a little drawing of Jack.

For Jack.


- What do you think?

- Fantastic. You're a genius.


Hold it.

Oh, come on. Smile!

- Would you take a photograph of us?

- Avec plaisir.

Thank you.

Tiens-moi a.


Thank you.

My youngest sisters, Alice and

Lisa, came to me in the garden and said:

"Robert, Robert,

come to the kitchen quickly."

"Eva and Maria have a treat for you."

Cathy's been selected

for the football team.

- What football team?

- The school football team. What else?

- Don't you think it's dangerous?

- Not really.

Tell me something.

Tell me the truth. Do you like children?

- What children?

- My children.

I like your children.

No, what I mean is,

do you actually like children?

- You mean all children?

- Children. Do you actually like children?

You mean as such?

The species as such?

What I mean is...

The real truth is...

you don't like children.

What you mean is,

you think I don't like your children.

What about me?

Do you like me?

I like you.

And you know why?

No, why?

I like you because you're always

asking me such challenging questions.

You're always testing my intellect.

Did I ever tell you the terrible thing that

happened to me when I was a little girl?

The worst thing

that ever happened to me?

No, you didn't tell me.

Well, I was about seven or eight and...

there was this gang of kids,

boys and giris, and we were this gang.

One day...

some of them said "One member of this

gang isn't good enough to be a member."

"Does everyone agree that

we should throw this person out?"

And I said "Yes." I clapped.



I clapped. I said

"Yes, throw this person out."

And you know who that person was?



That's terrible.

That's a terrible story.

Up at dawn for you and into a speedboat.

Where shall we go?

Where can we go?

Murano. They blow beautiful glass.

Very nice.

Murano! Lovely.

- What time's dawn?

- Dawn, signore?


A speedboat to Murano at daybreak.

And on the table were two big

bottles of lemonade, a cream cake,

two packets of cooking chocolate,

a big box of marshmallows.

And Maria said

"Look, darling. This is all for you."


Find anything?

Isn't this beautiful?

What do you think?

And Maria said "Look, darling.

This is all for you."

Are you asleep?

Mary, it's late.

- What is it?

- We haven't had any dinner.

What time is it?


Will Padovani's be open?

- Or what about...?

- No. It's quite late.

Too late. All closed.

But I know a very good bar.

Late-night bar.

Nice sandwich. Good drinks.

Very nice place. Very easy to find.

- All right. We'll have to take a map.

- All out. It's my only one, sorry.

- Let me look.

- Here. You see? Very nice.

You go straight out of here.

Turn and take a right.

Then you turn and take a right.

Right there.

Right. Thanks.

- Look, this way.

- How do you know?

What do you think?

- Yes, there we are.

- No. It's definitely this way.

I'm sorry, but it is.

- This way?

- All right.


What's that?

Look at that bed.

- She reminds me of someone.

- It's like a space shuttle.

What do you think? Where are we?

Is this right?

Yes, definitely.

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Harold Pinter

Harold Pinter (; 10 October 1930 – 24 December 2008) was a Nobel Prize-winning British playwright, screenwriter, director and actor. One of the most influential modern British dramatists, his writing career spanned more than 50 years. His best-known plays include The Birthday Party (1957), The Homecoming (1964), and Betrayal (1978), each of which he adapted for the screen. His screenplay adaptations of others' works include The Servant (1963), The Go-Between (1971), The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), The Trial (1993), and Sleuth (2007). He also directed or acted in radio, stage, television, and film productions of his own and others' works. Pinter was born and raised in Hackney, east London, and educated at Hackney Downs School. He was a sprinter and a keen cricket player, acting in school plays and writing poetry. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art but did not complete the course. He was fined for refusing National service as a conscientious objector. Subsequently, he continued training at the Central School of Speech and Drama and worked in repertory theatre in Ireland and England. In 1956 he married actress Vivien Merchant and had a son, Daniel, born in 1958. He left Merchant in 1975 and married author Lady Antonia Fraser in 1980. Pinter's career as a playwright began with a production of The Room in 1957. His second play, The Birthday Party, closed after eight performances, but was enthusiastically reviewed by critic Harold Hobson. His early works were described by critics as "comedy of menace". Later plays such as No Man's Land (1975) and Betrayal (1978) became known as "memory plays". He appeared as an actor in productions of his own work on radio and film. He also undertook a number of roles in works by other writers. He directed nearly 50 productions for stage, theatre and screen. Pinter received over 50 awards, prizes, and other honours, including the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2005 and the French Légion d'honneur in 2007. Despite frail health after being diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in December 2001, Pinter continued to act on stage and screen, last performing the title role of Samuel Beckett's one-act monologue Krapp's Last Tape, for the 50th anniversary season of the Royal Court Theatre, in October 2006. He died from liver cancer on 24 December 2008. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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