Opening on the French Riviera in 1927 during the last week of her life, the Karel Reisz (THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN) film on the life of the revolutionary, free thinking, free spirited, controversial and celebrated dancer Isadora Duncan (Vanessa Redgrave) fluctuates between that week and the story of her rise as a visionary in the world of modern dance. As far as movie bios go, it's blessedly free of most of the cliches (she wasn't a drug addict or alcoholic) of the genre but neither, due to the restrictions of the genre, very fluid as cinema. A film like this rises or falls on the shoulders of the actress playing Isadora and that is the film's piece de resistance, an extraordinary performance by Redgrave as Isadora Duncan that ranks with the greatest female performances committed to film (she won the Cannes film festival best actress award as well as the New York Film Critics and an Oscar nomination), playing the fresh faced young Isadora and the henna haired aging Isadora with equal aplomb. So brilliant that one overlooks a crucial fact ... Redgrave is not a dancer. Fortunately, she carries herself as a dancer but when we see her dancing, she doesn't have a dancer's grace, a dancer's mobility. The dreary score is by Maurice Jarre. With Jason Robards, James Fox, John Fraser, Zvonimir Crnko and Bessie Love.
The region 2 import from France (from Doriane Films) is a handsome wide screen (1.85) transfer.