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Many hands dabbled in the script - Clive Exton, Melvyn Bragg, Margaret Drabble - which is perhaps why this lavish biopic is rather impersonal, lacking a consistent viewpoint. Isadora Duncan, like Lawrence of Arabia, is an enigma; and whereas David Lean and Robert Bolt found only an enigma and sought to perpetuate it, Reisz seeks to unravel and explain this bizarre, scandalising appendage to the '20s. In some ways it's like a Ken Russell movie at 33 rpm, discovering the ageing Isadora dictating her memoirs and flashing back to her affairs in Berlin (Fox) and France, where she marries Mr Singer (Robards) of sewing-machine fame, then her second marriage to a Russian poet, her rejection and disillusion, and her final ride in a red Bugatti with scarf flying. The source of the scandal, her uninhibited sexuality and her Classical Greek dancing at the height of the Jazz Age, gives the film a semblance of unity, something to hang on to, and a visual beauty. And there is also Vanessa Redgrave, giving a quite superb performance in which the mannerisms are Isadora's, not hers.

Release details

Duration: 138 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Karel Reisz
Screenwriter: Melvyn Bragg, Clive Exton
Cast: Vanessa Redgrave
James Fox
Jason Robards
Ivan Tchenko
John Fraser
Bessie Love
Cynthia Harris
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