Sunday Bloody Sunday John Schlesinger

Sunday Bloody Sunday John Schlesinger
John Schlesinger's Midnight Cowboy was released in 1969, the same year as the Stonewall Riots. Cowboy would be the first X-rated film (PG by today's standards) to capture the Best Picture Oscar while Stonewall would usher in the Gay Rights Movement. Without these two forces, Sunday Bloody Sunday couldn't have been made. This 1971 British drama concerns a love triangle of a different sort. Affluent Jewish doctor Daniel Hirsh (Peter Finch) and divorced middle-aged woman Alex Greville (Glenda Jackson) share a lover, male artist Bob Elkin (Murray Head). Though aware of each other, Daniel and Alex alternate Bob during the week and never question this curious arrangement for fear of losing him. Bob himself is a carefree young man, too self-absorbed to really care about his two lovers. Daniel, however, wrestles with his homosexuality and family pressure to get married, while Alex must confront her fears of being alone. Sunday Bloody Sunday is a fine character study. The story is minimal, but comes to life through strong performances by the three leads, as well as the supporting cast (particularly Peggy Ashcroft as Alex's mother). Schlesinger takes a documentary approach, never allowing the camera to intrude on the drama and soaking up the mise en scéne of post-hippy London, where children smoke pot in the morning. There are several memorable scenes: the potato truck running over the pet dog; Daniel's lover robbing him in his car; the party where an alcoholic couple argue; Alex's nightmare about the dead dog. Though Schlesinger captures the loneliness and insecurities of Daniel and Alex, the film has lost some of its impact over the years. Though revolutionary for its time, the gay love scenes are no longer shocking and the bi-love triangle no longer novel. Times have changed. Plus: trailer. (MGM)