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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Sunday Bloody Sunday [Blu-ray]


(John Schlesinger, 1971)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Vectia 

Video: Criterion Collection Spine #629



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:50:26.036

Disc Size: 46,580,343,027 bytes

Feature Size: 32,368,115,712 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.97 Mbps

Chapters: 27

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 23rd, 2012



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



English (SDH), none



• New video interviews with actor Murray Head (7:31), Billy Williams (13:15), and production designer Luciana Arrighi (9:34)
Illustrated 1975 audio interview with director John Schlesinger (13:11)
New interview with writer William J. Mann (Edge of Midnight: The Life of John Schlesinger) about the making of Sunday Bloody Sunday (23:20)
New interview with photographer Michael Childers, Schlesinger’s longtime partner (7:25)
Trailer (2:35)
PLUS: A 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





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.



The Film:

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, Midnight Cowboy) 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 Claire's Knee.

Like Rohmer, Miss Gilliatt, who is a novelist and short story writer as well as a film critic, has the extraordinary ability to create intelligent characters who don't sound like mouthpieces, to capture those looks and sounds of the surface of things that suggest the universes just beneath, and to write dialogue that is simultaneously rueful and funny, and as spontaneous as love itself.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

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 " 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. The film looks like it is brand new.

















Audio :

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.


Extras :

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.



Schlesinger was a unique talent in filmmaking. Sunday Bloody Sunday is an integral part of his impressive list of films. This is a thoughtful, witty, emotionally relevant premium 70's film experience and the Criterion Blu-ray package offers a perfect a/v presentation with some concerted effort put into the supplements. Strongly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

September 27th, 2012


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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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