Review: ‘The Incredible Sarah’

Ruth Wolff's script, conceded in opening titles to be a 'free' interpretation of Sarah Bernhardt's early years, follows the famed actress from her early halting years on the French stage, then through an initial period of fame, notoriety and finally a youthful comeback of sorts at age 35. Glenda Jackson's versatile performance ranges from backstage, intimate situations to several lengthy excerpts from Bernhardt vehicles.

Ruth Wolff’s script, conceded in opening titles to be a ‘free’ interpretation of Sarah Bernhardt’s early years, follows the famed actress from her early halting years on the French stage, then through an initial period of fame, notoriety and finally a youthful comeback of sorts at age 35. Glenda Jackson’s versatile performance ranges from backstage, intimate situations to several lengthy excerpts from Bernhardt vehicles.

This is the story of a theatrical personality, not your average housewife. The achievement here is that Jackson makes the character comprehensible and, in a qualified way, admirable, notwithstanding the clear evidence of a totally selfcentered nature.

Strong supporting cast includes Daniel Massey as a playwright friend, and Simon Williams as an early lover and father of Bernhardt’s son.

1976: Nominations: Best Costume Design, Art Direction

The Incredible Sarah

UK

Production

Readers Digest. Director Richard Fleischer; Producer Helen M. Strauss; Screenplay Ruth Wolff; Camera Christopher Challis; Editor John Jympson; Music Elmer Bernstein; Art Director Elliot Scott

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1976. Running time: 105 MIN.

With

Glenda Jackson Daniel Massey Yvonne Mitchell Douglas Wilmer David Langton Simon Williams
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