Sunday Bloody Sunday


D: John Schlesinger

United Artists/Vectia (Joseph Janni & Edward Joseph)

UK 1971

110 mins


W: Penelope Gilliatt

DP: Billy Williams

Ed: Richard Marden

Mus: Ron Geesin

Peter Finch (Dr. Daniel Hirsh), Glenda Jackson (Alex Greville), Murray Head (Bob Elkin), Peggy Ashcroft (Mrs. Greville), Tony Britton (George Hardin)

Scandalous stuff when it was released in 1971, John Schlesinger's dramatic follow up on his Best Picture Oscar winner Midnight Cowboy (qv) also tackles a subject that was considered X-rated at the time.

Peter Finch and Glenda Jackson take centre stage in this drama about a homosexual, middle-aged doctor and a divorced professional woman who are both having an affair with the same man, bisexual artist Bob Elkin (Murray Head). They're both aware of the arrangement and have mutual friends, who are also aware, but they don't let the complications of the ménage-a-trois impact their day to day lives.

The pacing is a little slow, as it bases the drama around characters and the themes of the story are handled incredibly tastefully, helped in particular by a trio of excellent performances.

The film was hugely controversial at the time of release for depicting a gay man as a balanced professional, which wouldn't make people blink an eye in more recent times. There is still one scene which certainly feels inappropriate in retrospect, in which a group of children (approximately 8yo) openly smoke marijuana cigarettes in front of the adults. Truly scandalous stuff.


Peter Finch & Glenda Jackson on Sunday Bloody Sunday
Peter Finch & Glenda Jackson on Sunday Bloody Sunday