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DVD Review

DVD cover

Sunday, Bloody Sunday (1971)


Starring: Peter Finch Glenda Jackson Murray Head Peggy Ashcroft
Optimum Classic
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 15
Available 12 January 2009

Both Alex and Daniel are unhappy with their relationships, Alex following a relationship break-up and Daniel because of his homosexuality. Separately they both begin an affair with Bob, who divides his time between them. Although they are aware and accepting of each others existence, Alex and Daniel haven’t met, though they are in similar social circles. They find themselves unhappy with the relationship and unhappy without...

Sunday, Bloody Sunday (1971, 105 min) is one of director John Schlesinger’s most intimate films, following the far superior Midnight Cowboy (1969), charting the often unhappy ménage a trios of his rather dour central cast. The main tone of the film is one of brooding introspection as it charts what is ultimately an unhappy end to a set of not particularly happy relationships, and as such you would really not want to be stuck in a lift with this lot.

It is a serious film with a serious cast, so don’t expect many laughs. Glenda Jackson plays Alex, a woman disenchanted by her previous relationships, who for a time compromises her self to be with Bob (Murray Head), who fails to commit to either of his lovers. Peter Finch, as Daniel, attempts to balance the orthodox requirements of his job and religion with his overt homosexuality. The film does present something of a blessing here as Daniel obviously has no problem with his sexuality and this in an era when although it had been decriminalised would still have been a potential source of social ruin. After the myriad of Kenneth Williams tortured types it still remains a brave move to effectively not make an issue out of this side of Daniel's life, and furthermore to contextually place it in the film so that it shouldn’t be an issue for the audience.

A film which sets out to explore the generational differences and changed attitudes to sex and relationships is the stuff of Oscars, so it is not so surprising that the film won twelve awards, and was nominated for a further nine, including five Oscars. Personally I found the film to be the equivalent of intellectual navel staring. For hunters of trivia, the film does have June Brown (EastEnders's Dot Cotton) in a walk-on part.

The film is presented in 4:3 aspect ratio with a mono, short for monotonous, soundtrack. The only extra on the disc is the original theatrical trailer.

For a film about relationships, the characters are strangely devoid of love, which leaves this as a slightly aloof, but very sad film.


Charles Packer

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