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Sunday Bloody Sunday(1971)
A ménage à trois involving a homosexual man, a heterosexual woman, and the bisexual young man who alternates between them.
For more about Sunday Bloody Sunday and the Sunday Bloody Sunday Blu-ray release, see Sunday Bloody Sunday Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on October 2, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 5.0 out of 5.
Director: John Schlesinger
Starring: Peter Finch, Murray Head, Peggy Ashcroft, Glenda Jackson, Tony Britton, Maurice Denham
» See full cast & crew
Sunday Bloody Sunday Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, October 2, 2012
Nominated for four Oscar Awards, John Schlesinger's "Sunday Bloody Sunday" (1971) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion. The supplemental features on the disc include original trailer for the film; new video interviews with actor and musician Murray Head, cinematographer Billy Williams, and production designer Luciana Arrighi; audio excerpts from a seminar given by John Schlesinger; interview with author William J. Mann; and a new video interview with photographer Michael Childers, John Schlesinger's longtime partner. The release also arrives with an illustrated booklet featuring essays by film critic Terrence Rafferty and cultural historian Ian Buruma, as well as screenwriter Penelope Gilliatt's 1971 introduction to the film's screenplay. In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
Sunday Bloody Sunday follows three characters whose lives are closely intertwined. All three live alone. Two of them share the same answering service and the same lover.
The first character is a wealthy doctor (Peter Finch, The Fighting Rats of Tobruk, Network) who tries to stay involved with the local Jewish community but does not like the fact that he is monitored by friends and colleagues who are concerned that he is still single. There is a good reason why - Dr. Daniel Hirsh occasionally sees a younger man.
The second character, Alex (Glenda Jackson, Women in Love, A Touch of Class), is a recent divorcee who is trying to rebalance her life. She comes from a wealthy family but does not live in luxury. She rarely thinks about the past and does not regret the fact that she had to leave her husband. Like Dr. Hirsh, Alex also has a lover.
The third character is Bob Elkin (Murray Head, Madame Claude, The Big Snake of the World), the same young man Dr. Hirsh and Alex often see. Bob is a creative artist and has designed an interesting device which he hopes to patent and sell in America. Depending on the response he is expecting from New York, Bob could leave England in a couple of months.
Dr. Hirsh and Alex know that they are sharing Bob but are not trying to change the way things are. Both suspect that if they do they could lose Bob and the comfort he has brought in their lives. What they don't know is that Bob does not see them in his future. He isn't using them, he is simply at a different point in his life and willing to take risks that none of his two lovers would approve of.
Eventually, the balance in this love triangle is disrupted when Bob confesses to Dr. Hirsh that he cannot go with him on a romantic trip to Italy because he is planning to go to America. Dr. Hirsh is disappointed but not terribly surprised because all along he has known that there is a good chance that he might end up alone. Alex is also saddened by the news but quickly moves on.
Sunday Bloody Sunday is John Schlesinger's most personal film. Released two years after his acclaimed Midnight Cowboy, it essentially describes a type of relationship which the late director was once a part of.
There are two key factors that make this film so fascinating to behold. The first is its casual (or modern, if you will) depiction of the relationship between Dr. Hirsh and Bob. Here are two men who aren't concerned with the 'risks' they face because of who they are and the lifestyles they have chosen. The focus of attention is never on their sexuality but on the emotions they struggle with. The woman is also not a victim. She is comfortable with her decision to share her lover and unafraid to show it. For an early '70s film, these types of attitudes are quite extraordinary.
The second factor is the outstanding script (which, contrary to popular beliefs, was in fact largely completed by Schlesinger, not film critic Penelope Gilliatt). The dialog is crisp, intelligent but not superficial, and extremely fluid. The viewer learns about the main characters not by observing their actions but by listening to their conversations and the manner in which they describe each other. It sounds simple, but it is not. There isn't even a whiff of politicizing, and this, again, is a tremendous accomplishment for a '70s film.
The three leads are exceptional. Schlesinger's camera often follows them closely, but it never feels like they are there because of it. Everything they do is incredibly natural and real, and it feels like the camera just happens to be there documenting it. Tremendous film.
Note: in 1972, Sunday Bloody Sunday won David di Donatello Award (Italian Oscar) for Best Foreign Director (John Schlesinger).
Sunday Bloody Sunday Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.66:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, John Schlesinger's Sunday Bloody Sunday arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"This new high-definition digital transfer was created on a Spirit 2K Datacine from a 35mm interpositive struck from the original camera negative, and was color corrected under the supervision of director of photography Billy Williams. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, warps, jitter, and flicker were manually removed using MTI's DRS and Pixel Farm's PFClean, while Digital Visions' Phoenix was used for small dirt, grain, and noise reduction.
Transfer supervisor: Rita Belda/Sony Pictures, Culver City, CA.
Colorists: Dan Hermelin/Deluxe Digital, Burbank, CA; Trevor Brown/Deluxe Soho, London."
This release comes from a new high-definition digital restoration of the film which has been supervised by director of photography Billy Williams. A quick comparison with the old and out of print R1 DVD release of the film, which MGM produced in 2003, immediately reveals massive upgrades in every single area of importance - from detail to contrast stability to color reproduction. The many close-ups throughout the film convey excellent depth and great definition. Even when light is restricted there is hardly any softness present. The larger shots boast very good clarity. Color reproduction is also excellent - there is a good range of warm but natural colors that remain stable from start to finish. Furthermore, there are no traces of excessive degraining. Also, problematic sharpening corrections have not been performed. Needless to say, the film has a very pleasing and very stable organic look. I specifically would like to mention that a thorough clean-up has been performed as well. As a result annoying scratches, flecks, dirt and specks are nowhere to be seen. Lastly, excluding a few tiny artifacts, compression is also excellent. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Sunday Bloody Sunday Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: English LPCM 1.0. For the record, Criterion have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
The audio is well rounded and has pleasing depth. The recurring theme from Mozart's Così fan tutte is always well defined and there are no sudden drops or spikes in dynamic movement. The dialog is consistently crisp, clean, stable, and very easy to follow. For the record, there are no audio dropouts or problematic distortions to report in this review.
Sunday Bloody Sunday Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Sunday Bloody Sunday Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
One of the true groundbreaking films of the '70s and arguably director John Schlesinger's best work, Sunday Bloody Sunday has transitioned to Blu-ray in spectacular fashion. Indeed, releases such as this one are a prime example why Criterion are the best of the best - this terrifically acted film has never looked this good before and the Blu-ray contains excellent new supplemental features produced by Criterion. Sunday Bloody Sunday is easily one of the year's best releases. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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