Sunday Bloody Sunday (film)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Sunday Bloody Sunday is a 1971 British drama film directed by John Schlesinger and starring Murray Head, Glenda Jackson and Peter Finch. 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 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 homosexuals as alienated and self-loathing.

Contents

Synopsis

A Jewish doctor, Daniel Hirsh (Peter Finch) and a young woman, Alex Greville (Glenda Jackson) are both involved in a love triangle with contemporary sculptor Bob Elkin (Murray Head). Not only are Hirsh and Greville aware that Elkin is seeing the other but they know one another through mutual 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 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 that they both come face to face (for the first time in the narrative and at the end). Despite their opposed situations, both come to realize that it is time to move on.

Cast

Production notes

  • Alan Bates was the original choice made by John Schlesinger for the role of Daniel Hirsh, the bisexual doctor. However he was held up filming The Go-Between (1970) and was replaced first by Ian Bannen 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 onscreen 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.

Music

The film makes extensive use of source music including a recurring motif of the trio Soave sia il vento from Mozart's opera Così fan tutte.

Reception

The film currently holds a 91% 'Fresh' rating on Rotten Tomatoes.<ref>Template:Rotten-tomatoes</ref>

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 and David Sherwin).

It won the BAFTA Award for Best Film. It also won acting honors for Finch and Jackson, as well as Best Director for Schlesinger.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Sunday Bloody Sunday (film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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