Blu-ray, DVD Release: The French Lieutenant’s Woman

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Aug. 11, 2015
Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $39.95
Studio: Criterion


An astounding array of talent came together for the 1981 big-screen adaptation of John Fowles’s novel The French Lieutenant’s Woman, a postmodern masterpiece that had been considered unfilmable.

Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep in The French Lieutenant's Woman

Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep in The French Lieutenant’s Woman

With an ingenious script by the Nobel Prize–winning playwright Harold Pinter (Betrayal), British New Wave trailblazer Karel Reisz (Saturday Night and Sunday Morning) transforms Fowles’s tale of scandalous romance into an arresting, hugely entertaining movie about cinema.

In Pinter’s re-imagining, Jeremy Irons (Margin Call) and Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) star in parallel narratives, as a Victorian-era gentleman and the social outcast he risks everything to love, and as the contemporary actors cast in those roles and immersed in their own forbidden affair.

The French Lieutenant’s Woman, shot by the consummate cinematographer Freddie Francis (The Innocents) and scored by the great conductor Carl Davis, is a beguiling, intellectually nimble feat of filmmaking, starring a pair of brilliant actors in early leading roles.

Criterion’s Blu-ray and DVD editions of the drama-romance contain the following:

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New introduction by film scholar Ian Christie
  • New interviews with actors Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep, editor John Bloom, and composer Carl Davis
    • Episode of The South Bank Show from 1981 featuring director Karel Reisz, novelist John Fowles, and screenwriter Harold Pinter
    • Trailer
    • An essay by film scholar Lucy Bolton
Buy or Rent The French Lieutenant’s Woman
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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.