Film: British Legends of Stage and Screen – Claire Bloom (2012)

May 19, 2014 | By


BritishLegendsOfStageAndScreen_R2Film: Very Good

Transfer:  n/a  / Extras:  n/a

Label:   Odeon Entertainment

Region:   2 (PAL)

Released:    December 10, 2012

Genre:  Documentary / Biography / TV / Film History

Synopsis: Detailed interview with a reflective Claire Bloom, actress of stage, screen, and classic TV productions.

Special Features:   n/a




Claire Bloom’s career is profiled in this 8-episode series produced by Britain’s Sky Television (released in a 3-disc Region 2 DVD set), with the actress’ recollections augmented with stills and film clips of her work in stage and film / TV, respectively.

The daughter of a blue collar family, Bloom studied dancing and acting before achieving her first big break as the co-star in Charlie Chaplin’s Limelight (1952), and working with some of Britain’s top stage and screen talent throughout her career. Her ongoing relationship with then-married Richard Burton is given special attention – the two appeared in plays and films (Alexander the Great, Look Back in Anger, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold) over almost a decade – as are her marriages to Rod Steiger (with whom she appeared in The Illustrated Man) and author Philip Roth, and she reflects on some her famous directors, favourite roles, and the transition from hottie to mother onscreen, but one also senses a slight sadness in Bloom that her film career never matured into a steady streak with heavier roles.

Bloom’s screen persona was always a little chilly – she excelled in emotionally restrained, desperate, or surreptitious characters – and she came off perhaps a little too sultry for Hollywood (such as the sleek, manipulative women in The Haunting), resulting in less varied roles. The exceptions remain Charly (1968) and later A Doll’s House (1973), but by the end of the seventies her roles were less intriguing, except perhaps in TV, like the classic series Brideshead Revisited (1981). Bloom cites a few recent coups with director Woody Allen (a small role in Crimes and Misdemeanors, and a much smaller spot in Mighty Aphrodite), and there’s a brief nod to her recurring role as the world’s most loathsome mother in Doc Martin (2003-2013).

Now in her eighties, Bloom’s career is quite remarkable, and although director Anthony Fabian tends to favour sustained talking head shots (with some very peculiar side angles for cutaways), this is a rare and personal self-portrait, free from fluff and filler clips, with some frank self-reflections.



© 2014 Mark R. Hasan



External References:
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Category: Blu-ray / DVD Film Review

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