Review: ‘A Severed Head’

This is a very upper-class and intellectually snobbish film about 'civilized copulation'. It's based on Iris Murdoch's novel (subsequently dramatized by Murdoch and J.B. Priestley).

This is a very upper-class and intellectually snobbish film about ‘civilized copulation’. It’s based on Iris Murdoch’s novel (subsequently dramatized by Murdoch and J.B. Priestley).

It’s the writing, direction (by Dick Clement) and acting that gives it stylish panache. The mattress merry-go-round has a great game of musical chairs among its cast. Ian Holm plays Martin Lynch-Gibbon, a wine taster, with a mistress played by Jennie Linden. Holm’s wife (Lee Remick), a predatory nympho, is having an affair with her husband’s best friend, psychologist Richard Attenborough, who is also sexually involved with his sister, Claire Bloom (‘She’s only my half sister,’ he explains apologetically, but with little conviction).

Cast, all round, is very good, with Holm, the fall guy, excellent. Attenborough gives the psychiatrist a nicely humored pomposity, and Clive Revill, as Holm’s sculptor brother, brings his usual breeziness to one of the few extrovert roles.

On the distaff side Remick makes the least impact, at times becoming tediously fluffy. Linden is strong and loving as the mistress who’s shuffled around like a pawn and Bloom scores heavily as the menacing, enigmatic egghead.

A Severed Head

UK

Production

Winkast. Director Dick Clement; Producer Alan Ladd Jr; Screenplay Frederic Raphael; Camera Austin Dempster; Editor Peter Weatherley; Music Stanley Myers; Art Director Richard Macdonald

Crew

(Color) Extract of a review from 1971. Running time: 98 MIN.

With

Lee Remick Richard Attenborough Ian Holm Claire Bloom Jennie Linden Clive Revill
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading