OscarĀ(r) winners* Glenda Jackson, Peter Finch and John Schlesinger pool their talents for this 'remarkable, exquisitely photographed [and] almost perfectly directed film (The Hollywood Reporter) about two Londoners copin... more »g with the noncommittal affections of the lover they have in common. Alex Greville (Jackson) and Daniel Hirsch (Finch) are deeply in love...with a young artist named Bob (Murray Head). And though Bob professes to love each of them, he moves freely between them,unencumbered by any sense of guilt. Realizing that their situation is a temporary comfort in an uncomfortable world, Alex and Daniel each grapple with their predicaments, she to face her fear of being alone, and he to come to terms with his homosexuality. *Jackson: Actress, A Touch of Class(1973), Women in Love (1970); Finch: Actor, Network (1976); Schlesinger: Director, Midnight Cowboy (1969)« less
"While I concur with many of the reviews posted here, there is not enough praise bestowed on the sublime Glenda Jackson, who remains the great lost actress of her generation. Though the recipient of two Oscars ("Women In Love", "A Touch of Class") and two other nominations ("Sunday.." and "Hedda"), as well as a criminal snub for the landmark "Stevie", Ms. Jackson seems to be little remembered today. It seems inconceivable now, since in the early Seventies, only Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave could be considered her equals. For me, her Alex in "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" is my favorite of her rich performances. She is conflicted with her obviously unsatisfying affair with her bisexual (and, more importantly, shallow) lover, unfulfilled at her job, and basically adrift, just marking time in her life. The simple, yet powerfully suggestive emotions Jackson offers do much to help us identify strongly with her character. Who hasn't felt that, at times, their life is merely counting days, waiting for weekends which ironically do little to feed our spiritual or emotional needs? And the pattern continues, which to me is what the somewhat cryptic title implies. So much pressure is put on "the weekends" to make us happy that we can easily just wish our lives away, as Alex seems to. Its hard to find the final straw which Alex finds to salvage her life and begin again without this crippling relationship, but Jackson's brilliantly layered performance is a wonder throughout. Mr. Finch received many plaudits and is very respectable, but seems to be playing it safe here. His Dr. Hirsch is supposed to be the emotional, reasonable center of the movie, but Finch is a bit too reserved; the events don't seem to really happen to him at all. He stands curiously to the side, which may have been the author/director/actor's intent, but we don't have enough of the character's back-life for this to register. Murray Head is simply a cipher, which is all that is required, but a pleasant one. And any chance to see the divine Peggy Ashcroft and Bessie Love again is welcome. When this movie first came out, it had that wonderful aura that many of the pictures of that era did: the essence of the forbidden--the promise that new and undiscovered worlds and situations would be examined that had never been dealt with in film before. I remember the same feeling accompanying "Cries and Whispers", "McCabe and Mrs. Miller", and "Women in Love", movies which have stood the test of time. "Sunday, Bloody Sunday", though not without its flaws, has also held up. Its a perfect time capsule of a certain period of time and change for working-class Londoners still woozy from the Sixties and not anywhere near ready for what would be the Eighties. Its also a remarkable document of a brilliant actress at the height of her estimable powers. Highly recommended."
One of Schlesinger's Greatest Works!
H. F. Corbin | ATLANTA, GA USA | 07/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For over thirty years SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY has remained one of my favorite movies. John Schlesinger may be my favorite director. I believe I own all his movies save one. So I probably cannot be objective about either this movie or Mr. Schlesinger's greatness.I understood how my black students felt when they saw SOUNDER for the first time when I saw this movie on its release in 197l. "At last here is a decent movie about us." Not only was the movie about bisexual and gay relationships, but the characters were richly and complexly developed. In a word, believable. The plot is rather straight-forward-- the screen play is by Penelope Gilliatt--Alex played by Glenda Jackson is having an affair with Bob who is played by Murray Head who is having an affair also with Dr. Daniel Hirsch played by Peter Finch. Rod Steiger may have preempted Peter Finch and Murray Head with a kiss on the lips between males in THE SERGEANT, but the kiss between Finch and Head here was certainly well ahead of its time.The movie is visually very beautiful and well put together. The film opens with a closeup of the hands of Dr. Finch who is examining an older male patient. We see similar scenes throughout the movie of closeups of both Jackson's hands as she makes love to Head and Finch's hands as well. Much is made of answering services and phone messages since Alex and Dr. Hirsch have to share Bob and often have to be satisfied with phone messages rather than him in the flesh. (We can all be thankful this movie was made years before the advent of mobile phones.)I had never heard before the otherwordly trio from Mozart's COSI FAN TUTTE, this beautiful aria that soars throughout the movie in the way much of Mozart does: just below the surface of joy there is the pain of human suffering, so appropriate for these two individuals who have to share someone they love with someone else. In 197l Schlesinger was so brave to make this movie, which holds up well after 30 years. His honesty and courage to speak the truth have meant so much to so many. At the end of SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY as Peter Finch muses over his less than satisfactory relationship with his friend and discusses whether half a loaf is better than nothing, he says something to the effect that "I miss him." Those of us who loved Schlesinger who just died on this day can say in all sincerity, we will miss this great artist."
Another hallmark film of the 70s all but forgotten
H. F. Corbin | 01/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Despite John Schlesinger's often ham-fisted and glitzy direction, Sunday Bloody Sunday remains a humane and triumphant celebration. The late film critic Penelope Gilliatt penned the screenplay about a straight/gay love triangle spanning three different generations in the twilight of "swinging" London. Glenda Jackson and Peter Finch are both magnificent and invest the edgy, hyperliterate dialogue with well-seasoned vitality; every minor character fits the milieu and the conception like a shadow fits a corner. This is a haunting, resonant movie, a hallmark 1971 film that was one of the first to treat "other"ways of loving -- or coping -- with respect, insight and a thoroughly adult point of view."
Quietly subversive classic
klavierspiel | TX, USA | 12/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This tale of an unconventional love triangle looks better and better three decades after its release. John Schlesinger's filming of Penelope Gilliatt's screenplay preserves the brilliant performances of Peter Finch and Glenda Jackson, as a man and a woman reluctantly sharing the affections of a another, younger man, Murray Head (whatever happened to him?). What continues to surprise and delight is, most of all, the quiet acknowledgment that different kinds of love can co-exist, each having its own validity, without angst, guilt or retribution. If anything, general cinema has moved backwards since this film in terms of portraying homosexuality and bisexuality in a mature, non-exploitive manner. Ultimately, it's the acting of Finch and Jackson that makes this film, making one regret more than ever their respective death and retirement--in particular, Finch's moving closing speech, made directly to the camera, remains a masterpiece of understated delivery."
A masterpiece written by Penelope Gilliatt
klavierspiel | 06/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"John Schlesinger's film, from an original screenplay by Penelope Gilliatt (the brilliiant film critic for the New Yorker, novelist, short story writer, playwright, opera librettist, and profilist), is the director's finest work. (FYI: there is no comma in the title "Sunday Bloody Sunday.") Schlesinger asked Gilliatt to write the script because he thought she was the "right" writer; also, the screeenplay is also largely inspired by Gilliatt's novel "A State of Change."The 1971 film remains today the finest work ever to deal with gay or bisexual characters. The milieu is educated and upper-crust London and Londoners, in the period after the sixties. The landmark quality of the film is that it assumes viewers are intelligent as the characters on display. There's no big deal at all made of the characters' sexual orientations -- they simply are. Gilliatt wanted to write a film about the "possibility" of people who love each other finding the courage to move on in their lives once a relationship has ended -- for whatever reason -- with compassion and charity toward each other. The film is about different kinds of breakdown in communication, about surviving on less and less, about clinging to the possibility of hope in extremity. The film ends on a positive note -- it sees courage in the everday, in moving ahead with one's life. The credit must go to Gilliatt. Schlesinger directed, but the soul of the film is Gilliatt's much-honored screenplay."