Sunday Bloody Sunday (film)
|Sunday Bloody Sunday|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Schlesinger|
|Written by||Penelope Gilliatt|
|Music by||Ron Geesin|
|Edited by||Richard Marden|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
Sunday Bloody Sunday is a 1971 British drama film written by Penelope Gilliatt, directed by John Schlesinger and starring Murray Head, Glenda Jackson, Peter Finch and Peggy Ashcroft. It tells the story of a free-spirited young bisexual artist (played by Head) and his simultaneous relationships with a female recruitment consultant (Jackson) and a male Jewish doctor (Finch).
The film is significant for its time in that Finch's homosexual character is depicted as successful and relatively well-adjusted, and not particularly upset by his sexuality. In this sense, Sunday Bloody Sunday was a considerable departure from Schlesinger's previous film Midnight Cowboy, which had portrayed its gay characters as alienated and self-loathing, as well as other gay-themed films of the era, including Boys in the Band, and Some of My Best Friends Are....
Set in London, a middle-aged Jewish doctor, Daniel Hirsh (Peter Finch), and a young woman in her mid-30s, Alex Greville (Glenda Jackson) are both involved in a love triangle with contemporary sculptor Bob Elkin (Murray Head), a younger man in his mid-20s. Not only are Hirsh and Greville both aware that Elkin is seeing the other but they know one another through common friends. Despite this, they are willing to put up with the situation through fear of losing Elkin, who switches freely between them.
For Greville, the relationship is bound up with a growing disillusionment about her professional life, failed marriage and uneasy childhood. For Hirsh, it represents an escape from the repressed nature of his Jewish upbringing. Both realise the lack of permanence about their situation and it is only when Elkin decides to leave the country to settle in New York City after receiving an offer to open his own art gallery to display and sell his artwork, that they both come face to face (for the first time in the narrative at the end). Despite their opposed situations, both Hirsh and Greville come to realize that it is time to move on and Elkin leaves for the USA.
- Peter Finch as Dr. Daniel Hirsh
- Glenda Jackson as Alex Greville
- Murray Head as Bob Elkin
- Peggy Ashcroft as Mrs. Greville
- Tony Britton as George Harding
- Maurice Denham as Mr. Greville
- Bessie Love as Answering Service Lady
- Vivian Pickles as Alva Hodson
- Frank Windsor as Bill Hodson
- Thomas Baptiste as Professor Johns
- Richard Pearson as Patient
- June Brown as Woman Patient
- Hannah Norbert as Daniel's Mother
- Harold Goldblatt as Daniel's Father
- Russell Lewis as Timothy Hodson
- Marie Burke as Aunt Astrid
- Caroline Blakiston as Rowing Wife
- Peter Halliday as Rowing Husband
- Jon Finch as Scotsman
- Robert Rietti as Daniel's Brother
- Douglas Lambert as Man at Party
- Nike Arrighi as Party Guest
- Edward Evans as Husband at Hospital
- Gabrielle Daye as Wife at Hospital
- Petra Markham (uncredited) as Designer's girlfriend
- Daniel Day-Lewis (uncredited) as Child vandal
- John Warner (uncredited) as Party Guest
- Alan Bates was the original choice made by John Schlesinger for the role of Daniel Hirsh, the gay doctor. However he was held up filming The Go-Between (1970) and was replaced first by Ian Bannen, who dropped out after two weeks' filming, and later by Peter Finch. However, the role of Daniel was written as that of a much younger man.
- Several actresses (including Dame Edith Evans and Thora Hird) politely refused the part of Glenda Jackson's mother, Mrs. Greville, because they thought the project was too risqué. Peggy Ashcroft accepted after the director explained to her the elements of the story and she gladly signed on.
- Ian Bannen was fired from the role of Daniel Hirsh shortly after filming began. Apparently, he was so nervous about what kissing another actor on screen might do to his career, he could not concentrate enough to even get going with the part. He later said that losing the role set back his career, and regretted it till his death.
- Actor Daniel Day-Lewis made his film debut at the age of 14 in this film as a vandal in an uncredited role. He described the experience as "heaven", for getting paid £2 to vandalize expensive cars parked outside his local church.
The film currently holds a 91% 'Fresh' rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
This film appeared on both Roger Ebert's and Gene Siskel's Top 10 list of 1971. Listed as No. 5 and No. 6 respectively. Roger Ebert commented, "The official East Coast line on John Schlesinger's Sunday Bloody Sunday was that it is civilized. That judgment was enlisted to carry the critical defense of the movie; and, indeed, how can the decent critic be against a civilized movie about civilized people? My notion, all the same, is that Sunday Bloody Sunday is about people who suffer from psychic amputation, not civility, and that this film is not an affirmation but a tragedy...I think 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' is a masterpiece, but I don't think it's about what everybody else seems to think it's about. This is not a movie about the loss of love, but about its absence."
Awards and nominations
Sunday Bloody Sunday was nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Actor (Peter Finch), Best Actress (Glenda Jackson), Best Director (John Schlesinger), and Best Original Screenplay (Penelope Gilliatt). Gilliatt won several Best Screenplay awards for the film, including the New York Film Critics Circle Award, Writers Guild of America, and Writers' Guild of Great Britain.
- Sunday Bloody Sunday at the Internet Movie Database
- Sunday Bloody Sunday at AllMovie
- Sunday Bloody Sunday at Rotten Tomatoes
Women in Love
|Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film
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