‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’

Filmed from a script ostensibly written by novelist and controversial journalist Penelope Gilliat, Sunday Bloody Sunday is a terribly polite, Hampstead-like 1970s menage a trois. Director John Schlesinger’s immediate film post Midnight Cowboy, it’s also rather splendid.

Libertarian politics abound (adults and children alike) as artist Murray Head (Gawain & the Green Knight, White Mischief) splits his time between the lonely Jewish doctor, Peter Finch (Network, Far From the Madding Crowd) and employment executive, divorcee Glenda Jackson (A Touch of Class, Women In Love). Whilst lives are kept separate, nothing remains secret: both have made compromises to have love, albeit shared, rather than none at all.

Essentially a family drama spread over only a few days, Head is almost secondary by his emotional absence to that unfolding drama. Whether in the presence of Jackson’s sister’s tribe of precocious children or the gatherings at the synogogue or a privileged family wedding, the two leads deal with the inevitable as Head makes his plans for New York. Loss or absence of love is something both are resigned.

Nominated for 4 Oscars in 1972 (best director, actor, actress & original screenplay).

Rating: 72%

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