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on 2 May 2017
Isadora [DVD]
The film itself is beautifully shot and Vanessa Redgrave's performance is nothing short of stunning. Also worth mentioning is Maurice Jarre's beautiful original film score.

The run time of the main feature on the Odeon Entertainment 2 disc collector's edition is 134 minutes. The audio language is ENGLISH ONLY (not German as is currently stated in the product description!). There are no subtitles. Picture and sound quality of the main feature are excellent.

Bonus features on disc 1:
- Stills gallery
- Aquarius - Isadora Duncan (11 mins)
- Archive footage of Isadora Duncan (only a few seconds, but apparently this is all the film footage that is known to exist of the great Isadora Duncan)

Disc 2:
- The Royal Ballet perform Isadora. A ballet by Kenneth MacMillan (106 mins).
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on 17 May 2011
The legend of Isadora Duncan seems to be gradually fading with time. But when this film was made in the 1960s, she was still very much a bright memory and her free-spirited approach to both life and her art struck a definite chord with the Love Generation. Seen today, it's still a fascinating glimpse into what was undoubtedly an eccentric and frustrating yet brilliant character.

The film is always beautiful to look at - the style seems to suggest that there were many similarities between the Twenties and the Sixties. I don't know about that, but the film has a splendid period feel. The gorgeous Croatian resort of Opatija was an inspired choice to represent the French Riviera of the Twenties. A lot of attention has been paid to all the detail. Too bad, therefore, that Maurice Jarre's music seems to reflect neither the era nor the character of Isadora - at least Bye Bye Blackbird provides an appropriate background.

Director Karel Reisz deserves much praise for making the enigmatic character of Isadora as accessible as he does. The script tries hard to illuminate her by concentrating on key events in her life rather than making a conventional biopic for this very unconventional person. But it constantly and somewhat needlessly jumps back and forth in time which is occasionally confusing. The concentration on Isadora is so absolute that the other people in her life come and go with barely a word of introduction or explanation. And in a film that concentrates as much on Isadora's love life as her dancing, her bisexuality is curiously ignored. Our view of Isadora is more impression than insight.

Even so, Vanessa Redgrave treats us to a remarkable performance - making Isadora as credible as she was outrageous. She is also surprisingly good in the dance sequences, some of which are quite stunningly staged. Redgrave's American accent may wander a bit, but she holds nothing back in baring Isadora's soul to us. It is a powerful performance.

All the other actors are truly just supporting. Cast against type, James Fox has a great time as the extravagent designer Gordon Craig. Jason Robards, by contrast, is permanently morose as millionaire Paris Singer. As the Russian poet who eventually marries Isadora, Ivan Tchenko is full of fire and vodka. Special mention should be made of John Fraser who plays Isadora's long-suffering secretary Roger. Fraser was a wonderful actor in some significant films in the Sixties (El Cid, Repulsion, Tunes of Glory) yet stardom somehow eluded him. He gives the second best performance in Isadora - an expertly judged mixture of devotion and exasperation.

But the film really belongs to Vanessa Redgrave and Karel Reisz. Together, they create many memorable moment. The best of these is when Isadora is dancing for an audience of Russians just after the Revolution. Suddenly, a power failure puts the lights out. Isadora is given a lantern and someone starts to sing. Soon everyone is singing and dancing an impormptu and emotional version of Kalinka. The scene captures Isadora's love of dance, the Russian soul, the universal appeal of art, and everything that is good about film. We are both touched and thrilled. It is too much to expect the film to be that good all the way through. But it's wonderful to see Isadora getting the remastered DVD release it so richly deserves.

Extra - One of the extras on the second disc is a film of Kenneth Macmillan's controversial ballet Isadora performed by the Royal Ballet. I assume this is the version broadcast on ITV in 1982. The Royal Ballet recently revived this ballet in a drastically shortened version but the full ballet has not been seen in many years (I saw it in 1983). It's an equally fascinating portrayal of Isadora and her life although it received quite mixed reviews. Its inclusion here is, for me at any rate, worth the price of the DVD.
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on 11 June 2011
As other reviewers have pointed out, this was an opportunity to do a definitive edition of this practically forgotten gem -- the running time on this print is 134 minutes which is the shortened version of the premiere cut which was 168 minutes. This is actually the print that was retitled in ads as THE LOVES OF ISADORA. Why not find that original release print for DVD release ?? The editing on this version totally dilutes the power of Redgrave's iconic performance and the flow of Melvyn Bragg's screenplay.
The only previous release of ISADORA was on VHS - 153 min. - " a special director's cut" - this version was a revelation to us who had never seen the original cut -- continuity is much better in this version because Reisz was in charge - not so with this abbreviated cut.
It is great to have an official widescreen print finally on DVD so I recommend it . But what a wasted chance -- no interviews with any of the surviving principals - Redgrave, James Fox, John Fraser, Melvyn Bragg, etc. - no making of documentary -- no vintage material on the film - just on Isadora Duncan-
As much as I love Hepburn in LION IN WINTER + like Streisand in FUNNY GIRL(the only tie ever for this award) , Vanessa Redgrave deserved the Oscar for best Actress in 1969.
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on 16 September 2011
I think this double disc dvd should also be listed under ballet because I only found by accident the superb macmillan ballet isadora.
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on 27 March 2011
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.
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on 15 November 2013
The remastered disc was fine technically, but the movie has not really survived time, its whole ethos seems somewhat dated. But fine performance from then beautiful Vanessa Redgrave
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on 26 December 2015
An excellent Blu-ray release of Karel Riez's superb cinematic "bio" of American dance innovator and enigmatic performer Isadora Duncan-- hear realized in a superb, Oscar-nominated (she should have won!) performance by one of the 20th-century's greatest film actresses, Vanessa Redgrave..
The release is only hampered by the use of the "cut" version, which was called (in the U.S. at least) "The Loves of Isadora." Hopefully the full version will be released one day. This is a great start!
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Redgrave gives a typically impressive performance but she is not Isadora who was a far from beautiful woman. The rambling structure and never-ending dance sequences don't help the situation either as they are no substitute for the drama so necessary but significantly lacking from the piece. As a result the film lacks momentum and an emotional core. Characters such as Singer and more particularly Edward Gordon Craig appear and then vanish without you having any clue as to their complex and fascinating real personalities. Definitely a curate's egg this one. However the digital transfer is excellent with high end encoding and good fine detail. The extras are good too - particularly the inclusion of the full length 107mt Isadora ballet on the second disc and an amusing arts documentary extract about Isadora hosted by Peter Hall who is in conversation with the rather precious ballet critic Clement Crisp - doing a fair imitation of his namesake Quentin!
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on 12 August 2011
I first saw this film on TV when I was a teenager and I have remembered it ever since, so I was delighted to be able to purchase a quality version on DVD.
Vanessa Redgrave is brilliant as Isadora, she captures the vivacity and vitality not only of the dancer but the spirit and elan of the age.
The scenery and settings are exactly right for the era and one is transported into the opulent world of Paris Singer's home, and the cinematography is captivating.
Isadora influenced contemporay ballet with her style of dance and Redgrave is supreme in capturing the daring idiosyncracies of Duncan's movements in scenes that rejoice in the bodies ability to freely create new, expressive forms and shapes.
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on 2 June 2011
Just thought I would point out that there are no subtitles of any kind on this DVD, if that's important to you.
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