The 1971 critically acclaimed drama "Sunday Bloody Sunday," nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Director for John Schlesinger, Best Screenplay for Penelope Gilliatt, Best Actor for Peter Finch, and Best Actress for Glenda Jackson, arrives on a single-disc Blu-ray package via the Criterion Collection. This film also won the David di Donatello Award (considered the Italian Oscar) for Best Foreign Director. Other stars to grace the picture include Murray Head, Peggy Ashcroft, Tony Britton, and Maurice Denham.
The story depicts the intertwined romantic lives of three characters, a middle-aged homosexual doctor, a prickly thirty-something heterosexual divorcée, and a handsome bisexual young artist who alternates between the first two. Exploring the impact of sex and class in the society during the period, their love triangle navigates through changes during the early-1970s sexual revolution. This sociologically astute drama is considered a groundbreaking piece for its frank depiction of homosexuality, while also featuring one of the first same-sex kisses on screen. This film followed Schlesinger's controversial but award-winning drama "Midnight Cowboy," the first X-rated film to ever win the Oscar Best Picture.
This sophisticated and highly personal take on love and sex maintains a stable range of warm but natural colors from start to end. Images often have a pleasing and organic look without traces of excessive degraining or problematic sharpening. Film grain remains naturally intact and the transfer's thorough cleanup succeeds in removing annoying scratches, flecks, dirt and specks throughout this dated presentation.
Shots boast excellent depth and definition and very good clarity. There are no fluctuations in saturation and contrast. The inky blacks don't lose significant details even in very dark scenes.
Considering the film's age, the well-rounded LPCM mono track offers a surprisingly pleasing amount of power and depth to the picture. Speaking lines sound clear and natural that they really help elicit performances of great sensitivity from the actors. The musical score is always well-defined without any drop or spike in dynamics. No audio dropouts and other serious aural distortions plague the material.
This Blu-ray offering provides a decent amount of supplements. Highlighting these extras are a couple of film discussions and interviews of the film's cast and crew, as well as a handful of authors and scholars. The film's trailer and an English SDH subtitle option round up the disc's contents. A booklet featuring essays by film critic Terrence Rafferty and cultural historian Ian Buruma, along with screenwriter Penelope Gilliatt's 1971 introduction to her screenplay, is also included in the package.
"Sunday Bloody Sunday" is an impeccably crafted, multi-textured of piece of cinema that deals with the complexities of romantic relationships. Intelligently scripted, sensitively directed, and keenly acted, this mature Seventies drama genuinely examines the shifting nature of love, sex, and relationships using a non-judgmental approach in presenting its characters. For this must-watch cinematic opus, its penetrating story serves as a poignant piece that deftly crosses the line between a character study and a social commentary.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Penelope Gilliatt
- John Schlesinger
- Glenda Jackson
- Peggy Ashcroft