It is based upon the classic eighteenth-century novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses, by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos.
Les Liaisons dangereuses is an epistolary novel, i.e., a novel that is entirely composed of letters. Through the messages sent by its characters, the reader is informed not only of events and situations, but also of Valmont's and Merteuil's innermost thoughts and wishes. This may pose a few problems for stage adaptation, since a large portion of the original material consists not of action, but of perceptions and feelings.
It is the first film adaptation in English of the novel.