An astounding array of talent came together for the big-screen adaptation of John Fowles's novel The French Lieutenant's Woman, a postmodern masterpiece that had been considered unfilmable. With an ingenious script by the Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter, British New Wave trailblazer Karel Reisz transforms Fowles's tale of scandalous romance into an arresting, hugely entertaining movie about cinema. In Pinter's reimagining, Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep 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 and scored by the venerated composer and conductor Carl Davis, is a beguiling, intellectually nimble feat of filmmaking, starring a pair of legendary actors in early leading roles.
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