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