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|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
Sunday Bloody Sunday [Blu-ray]
(John Schlesinger, 1971)
Review by Gary Tooze
Video: Criterion Collection Spine #629 / BFI
Region: 'A' / 'B' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:50:26.036 / 1:50:02.470
Disc Size: 46,580,343,027 bytes / 47,451,695,591 bytes
Feature Size: 32,368,115,712 bytes / 29,717,821,440 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.97 Mbps / 29.99 Mbps
Chapters: 27 / 6
Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Transparent case
Release date: October 23rd, 2012/ March 16th, 2020
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
English (SDH), none
• New video interviews with actor Murray Head (7:31), Billy Williams
production designer Luciana Arrighi (9:34)
Feature commentary by Amy Simmons
(2020): the author and critic on the film and its radical
take on 1970s sexuality
Description:John Schlesinger followed his iconic Midnight Cowboy with this deeply personal take on love and sex. Sunday Bloody Sunday depicts the romantic lives of two Londoners, a middle-aged doctor and a prickly thirty-something divorcée—played with great sensitivity by Peter Finch and Glenda Jackson—who are sleeping with the same handsome young artist (Murray Head). A revelation in its day, this may be the seventies’ most intelligent, multi-textured film about the complexities of romantic relationships.
This British film examines the choices individuals must make when confronted with a romantic relationship which is rewarding but does not offer them everything they want. In this sympathetic and psychologically precise drama, Alexandra Greville (Glenda Jackson), "Alex" to her friends, has a younger man as her sometime lover, the young sculptor Bob Elkin (Murray Head). Elkin is completely open about the fact that he is also the lover of her acquaintance, Dr. Daniel Hirsch (Peter Finch). These relationships continue in some kind of equilibrium until Alex and Bob agree to house-sit the children of a couple known to the three of them. In their roles, neither Head nor Finch "swished," or otherwise catered to homosexual stereotypes, and theirs was considered to be a groundbreaking, sympathetic portrayal of this kind of relationship, not condescending in any way. One highlight of the film is a scene in which Dr. Hirsch attends the Bar Mitzvah of his nephew. This critically well-received movie was unexpectedly successful at the box office. The film's director and screenwriter, as well as Jackson and Finch, were nominated for Academy Awards.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
Sunday, Bloody Sunday is Schlesinger's (Darling,
wisest, least sentimental film, an almost perfect realization of
Penelope Gilliatt's original screenplay, which is, I think, just about
the best original screenplay since Eric Rohmer's
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Sunday Bloody Sunday looks very strong on Blu-ray from Criterion. It is advertised as "...digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Billy Williams". There really are no flaws - the detail is very impressive, pastel colors are strong, depth is apparent and the image is spotlessly clean. This is dual-layered with a high bitrate and we can surmise that it is as solid representation that the film is likely to get in digital. It is in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio and contrast is at Criterions hallmark standards. There is no intrusive noise. This Blu-ray is essentially flawless and supplies a totally pleasing 1080P presentation.
7 1/2 years later and the new 1080P transfer doesn't look significantly different - slightly warmer skin tones in spots, a tick of deeper contrast but in-motion I suspect few would discern any strong disparity. It, also, looks just great - wonderful grain and very film-like in the 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Impressive.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Subtitle Sample - BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
More Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray Captures
Notable in the film are tracks from Mozart - "Soave sia il vento" performed by Pilar Lorengar, Yvonne Minton and Barry McDaniel as well as the piece by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy's "Auf Flügeln des Gesanges (On Wings of Song)". The original music is by Ron Geesin - and all benefit from Criterion's lossless linear PCM mono transfer at 1152 kbps. It is clean, crisp and, predictably, flat but the music is impressive in uncompressed. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked disc.
Also 24-bit linear PCM - maybe slightly deeper but essentially no difference. Mendelssohn and Mozart sound impressive in the uncompressed. The BFI offers optional English (SDH) subtitles on their Region 'B' Blu-ray.
Criterion have conducted a number of 2012 interview here in their supplements - with actor Murray Head (7:31), cinematographer Billy Williams (13:15), and production designer Luciana Arrighi (9:34) and her attention to minute details as well as 25-minute with writer William J. Mann (Edge of Midnight: The Life of John Schlesinger) about the making of Sunday Bloody Sunday as well as 7-minutes with photographer Michael Childers, Schlesinger’s longtime partner. They reminisce on the director and experiences working on Sunday Bloody Sunday. There is also a 13-minute illustrated 1975 audio interview with director John Schlesinger, a trailer (2:35) and a liner notes booklet featuring essays by film critic Terrence Rafferty and cultural historian Ian Buruma, as well as screenwriter Penelope Gilliatt’s 1971 introduction to the film’s screenplay. Nice to see such relevant extras.
BFI stack theirBlu-ray release starting with a new audio commentary by Amy Simmons where the author of Antichrist (Devil's Advocates) - and critic (Time Out, Sight & Sound, Little White Lies, the BFI and Senses of Cinema) on the film and its radical take on 1970s sexuality. I found, what I heard, very interesting. You can also watch the film with a 105-minute interview with John Schlesinger from 1977 where the director looks back over his illustrious career. BFI include a 3/4 hour 1950 film entitled The Starfish. It's a supernatural fantasy made by John Schlesinger and Alan Cooke as film students. The Face of London - Sunday in the Park runs 1/4 hour from 1956. In this short Schlesinger captures Londoners enjoying their day of rest. We get two important new interviews; Murray Head Remembers Sunday Bloody Sunday has the musician and actor discusses his leading role for 25-minutes. Secondly is Billy Williams Remembers Sunday Bloody Sunday where the award-winning cameraman recalls working with Schlesinger for shy of 28-minutes. The Pacemakers is a 1971 interview with Glenda Jackson where the actress talks about her performances, filmed on the set of Sunday Bloody Sunday. Blood Donor: Glenda and Ernie (is from 1981) and shows a reluctant Glenda Jackson and a crafty Ernie Wise make a public-service appeal for donating blood - lastly only a couple of minutes. There is an image gallery of rare on-set shots by renowned photographer Michael Childers, plus a 10-minute slideshow of promotional and press stills. There is a trailer (and for the first pressing BFI include a fully illustrated booklet with new essays by Simon McCallum and Kieron McCormack and full film credits.
Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
BFI - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Well... BFI have advanced on the Criterion with a great package of supplements - commentary, new interviews, shorts, booklet - and the film looking equally as impressive as its US counterpart. Wonderful to revisit this masterwork - brilliantly ahead of its time - with such great performances. Certainly the BFI Blu-ray is worthy of a double-dip. This is a real keepsake package and a film you can watch for the rest of your life.
September 27th, 2012
March 8th, 2020
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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