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Dangerous Liaisons
Dangerous Liaisons
Actors: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Swoosie Kurtz, Keanu Reeves
Director: Stephen Frears
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     1997     1hr 59min

The biting satire about love and lust, passion and deception includes director's commentary.


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Movie Details

Actors: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Swoosie Kurtz, Keanu Reeves
Director: Stephen Frears
Creators: Philippe Rousselot, Mick Audsley, Christopher Hampton, Hank Moonjean, Norma Heyman, Choderlos de Laclos
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Love & Romance, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Warner Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 10/29/1997
Original Release Date: 12/21/1988
Theatrical Release Date: 12/21/1988
Release Year: 1997
Run Time: 1hr 59min
Screens: Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Member Movie Reviews

Reviewed on 11/26/2016...
A perfectly cast, grand guignol, box of chocolates of a movie. With both Glenn 'Geezer' Close and John Malkovich performing at their androgynous best, this wicked tale, based on the Comte De L'Eclaire DeClos' classic epistolary novel, mixes deft subtlety and raw emotion at the helming hand of Stephen Frears. The exquisitely beautiful Michelle Pfeiffer, with her transluscent butterfly eyelids and royal manner was never so elegant as in this period masterpiece. On paper, casting may seem absurd, but all the Yanks, barring Peter Capaldi and the goofily puppylike Keanu Reeves, get it done!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Tina G. from MEAD, WA
Reviewed on 1/31/2011...
I chose this movie since the movie modern day "Cruel Intentions" was losely based on this one, I found it fairly entertaining but would not keep to watch again.
0 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jennifer G. from ATLANTA, GA
Reviewed on 1/20/2011...
Excellent movie about a game of lies that proves the truth always wins in the end.
3 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Almost a masterpiece
RolloTomasi | California | 08/02/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"At first glance, DANGEROUS LIAISONS appears to be an extravagant eighteenth-century period-piece, which it is; the powdered wigs and overflowing corsets typical of the genre are all here, and the cinematography is appropriately glossy. But boiling beneath the elegant surface are the deviously twisted sensibilities of two monstrous characters--the Marquise de Merteuil (Glenn Close) and the Vicomte de Valmont (John Malkovich), a pair of schemers (and former lovers) who take pleasure in coolly manipulating and seducing those around them. The Marquise challenges the Vicomte to seduce the virtuous Madame de Tourvel (Michelle Pfeiffer), but when the latter finds himself genuinely falling in love with his intended prey, the game quickly turns fatal--with devastating consequences for everyone involved.A period-piece? Yes, but one honed with a distinctly contemporary menace. It's rare, for example, to find a period-piece with such delicious, razor-sharp dialogue (which garnered the film an Academy Award for Best Screenplay Adaptation). It's also rare to find a period-piece that focuses primarily on sex, but treats its subject matter with so little eroticism. DANGEROUS LIAISONS is more about power and one-upmanship; sex merely serves as the weapon of choice. It's a diabolically entertaining film, a decadent one even; there's something both disturbing and enjoyable about watching the two central characters indulging in their elaborate power plays.The performances are strong for the most part (Close, Malkovich, and Pfeiffer all received Oscar nominations), although the women fare much better than the men. Glenn Close does a magnificent job as the evil Marquise, and supplies the film with some of its most explosive moments--the scene in which she quietly utters the word "War" without batting an eyelash is chilling beyond words. I didn't completely buy Malkovich as the charming lady-killer (a small but serious flaw that undermines the whole film), but he does a fine job with what he's given. Keanu Reeves, as usual, is utterly unfathomable, even in a relatively minor part. The best performance of all is delivered by Michelle Pfeiffer; as the tormented wife, she bares every inch of her moral anguish, and the results are heartbreaking to behold. Behind the cold-blooded duo of Close and Malkovich, it's Pfeiffer who provides the emotional heart of the film, and in every one of her pained expressions lies the evidence of the very human consequences at stake."
A ravishing, devilish good time!
D. Litton | Wilmington, NC | 12/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There's a certain degree of sinful pleasure hidden beneath the depravity of "Dangerous Liaisons," a film that is perversely elegant in its execution and daringly naughty in regard to its story. Based on the novel by Choderlos de Laclos, the script by Christopher Hampton explores the cause and effect nature of love, betrayal, and sinful intentions in both humorous and serious lights. While the material could be easily morose and unaffecting, director Stephen Frears spices up his canvas with a beautiful cast and a well-constructed production design. At the center of the story are two people who feed on the misery they cause others as a way to keep their urges for one another suppressed. Glenn Close is the seductively evil Marquise de Merteuil, a self-proclaimed "virtuoso of deceit" who believes it her duty to dominate the opposite sex, and avenge her own. Her latest undertaking involves the daughter of her naive friend Madame de Volanges (Swoozie Kurtz), for whom her former lover left her. In hopes of ruining daughter Cecile's (Uma Thurman) reputation, she calls upon beloved friend and partner in evil, Vicomte de Valmont, played by John Malkovich. Valmont, like Merteuil, prides himself on his accomplishments, and prizes the feeling of success that comes with the devastation he causes to women. But he has different plans in mind, involving the seduction and ruin of one Madame de Tourvel (Michelle Pfeiffer), whose ideals and virtues are the exact opposite of these two wicked souls. His plan is concocted from the most cruel of intentions: to make her want him so badly that she does not relinquish her beliefs, but instead is crushed by them once she gives in to his advances. Imagine his surprise when he finds that his task will not be as easy as he had at first hoped. When he finds that Tourvel is far more resistant than first expected, he agrees to aid Merteuil in her quest for revenge against Cecile. As the two weave their intricate web of deception and betrayal, Valmont finds himself in a position he never imagined possible, and Merteuil finds herself in danger of losing her grip over him. As you may have noticed, I've left out much of the important plot points concerning other characters; half the fun of this film is the unveiling of each evil plan, all of which fall into place in a manner that is ingeniously devilish and supremely potent. The manner in which these actions are carried out, and the overall effects they have, are unsettling, to be sure, yet there's a wondrous sense of awe about them, one that stems from the craftsmanship of such detailed revenges that are disturbing and mesmerizing at the same time. For such a devious story to work, a talented cast is in order, and "Dangerous Liaisons" supplies us with precisely that. Glenn Close is outlandish as Merteuil, mastering with incredible wit and sensibility the calculating nature of her character. She wonderfully portrays the physical beauty used to mask the cold-hearted novice with terrific gusto; in Merteuil's "win or die" conversation with Valmont, Close sells us on the character, and also proves her worth as an actress. Mirroring this delightfully evil performance is that of Malkovich, whose delectable wit and cool masterminding of deceit are supremely effective. For his character to work, there must be two key factors involved: we must believe enough in his ability to seduce and destroy, and we must be able to accept the change of heart that comes after meeting Tourvel. Malkovich is able to accomplish both with suave, debonair charm and true emotional feeling within his words. High praise to the supporting cast as well, who all give well-rounded performances. Pfeiffer portrays Tourvel's resistance and innocence perfectly, as well as the heartache and hardships once she accepts her feelings for Valmont. The two pawns in Merteuil's wicked game, Cecile and her young love, Chevalier Danceny, are played by Thurman and Keanu Reeves with a much-needed naivety and innocent virtue that casts Merteuil and Valmont in an even more chilling light. In my praise of the cast, I've neglected to mention the superb art direction and production design for "Dangerous Liaisons." Some of the best sets and costumes ever designed for a period motion picture reside here, conveying the elegance and aristocracy of pre-Revolution France in a very accurate manner; the bawdy, forceful score by George Fenton also receives high marks. Anyone looking for some fiendish fun with a believable premise need look no further than this film, a sheer delight of whimsy, devilish evil, and grotesque elegance."
Two Movies of the Same Story. One Clear Winner. Buy It!
B. Marold | Bethlehem, PA United States | 08/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The two movies, `Dangerous Liaisons' directed by Stephen Frears and `Valmont', directed by Milos Forman are a real anomoly in that they were released at almost exactly the same time and tell almost exactly the same story, based on an old novel, `Les Liaisons Dangeruese' by Choderlos de Laclos. It is a minor tragedy that `Valmont' received so much less attention and promotion than `Dangerous Laisons'. I suspect that had a lot to do with the fact that `Valmont' was released by the company Orion which may have been in its last throes of survival and simply did not have the means to promote the film.

The only bright side of this situation is that the `Dangerous Liaisons' implementation of this story is much better. It is a sign of the value of `...Liaisons' that it is much better than a really worthy movie.

I believe the difference in the quality of the two movies lies directly on the aptness of the casting and the quality of the acting. On all the lesser qualities which go into making a movie such as set decoration, cinematography, editing, music and the like, the two films are easily on equal terms.

The heart of the matter is in the comparison of `...Liaisons' casting of Glenn Close and John Malkovich in the principle roles versus `Valmont's casting Colin Firth and Annette Bening. While Firth is physically much more believable as a Casanova type, Close and Malkovich are far superior than Bening and Firth at playing world class scoundrels. At the secondary level, `...Liaisons' casting of Uma Thurmen and Keanu Reeves as the two young innocent lovers is immensely more satisfying than the `Valmont casting of unknowns Fairuza Balk and Henry Jones. My memory of their relative careers is a bit dim, but this movie is ample evidence of why Uma and Keanu are big stars today and Fairuza and Henry are footnotes to cinema history.

Of the fifth major role, we have `...Liaisons' casting Michelle Pfeiffer versus `Valmont's casting Meg Tilly. This may be the only role where the two movies are close. Tilly gives a great performance as a naïve young wife who ultimately gives into Valmont's seductions, but I think Pfeiffer is even better. Here, the difference may have been in the writing, as I suspect Pfeiffer's role is just a bit more strongly written, so Michele had more to work with.

If nothing else convinces you, compare the seduction scenes between Malkovich and Thurmen versus Firth and Balk and the mix of sweetness with darkness in the former versus the pure soft core porn of the latter will carry the day.