Hedda: Trevor Nunn’s Version of Ibsen, Starring Glenda Jackson in Oscar Nominated Performance

As filmed by Trevor Nunn, the distinguished theater director, Hedda is a passable screen adaptation of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Henrik Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler,” elevated slightly by the performance of Glenda Jackson who was nominated for an Oscar.

Jackson may be too harsh and strong to play plays Hedda, the restless, free-spirited daughter of a Norwegian military officer. Stuck in a boring marriage to George Tesman (Timothy West), she lives with her dull professor whom she clearly does not love.

Bored with position and lifestyle, Hedda begins playing with the life of the trusting friend Thea Elvstead (Jennie Linden) and pushes her former lover, the poetic Eilert Lovborg (Patrick Stewart, before he became a movie star), into attempting suicide.

Hedda’s manipulative, destructive conduct is arrested by the lascivious Judge Brack (Peter Eyre), who threatens her with public exposure and a deal of his own: He will keep silent if Hedda become his mistress.

Almost every actress has wanted to play Hedda Gabler, one of the richest dramatic roles.  The fact that Jackson received a Best Actress Oscar nomination is more of a testament to the paucity of good roles for women in 1975 (an all-time low) than to the caliber of her acting.  Carol Kane was also undservedly nominated for her work in “Hester Street.”

It should be noted that Jackson was by that time a two time Oscar-winner (in 1970 for “Women in Love,” and in 1973 for “A Touch of Class”).

Running time: 104 Minutes.

Directed By: Trevor Nunn

Oscar Nominations: Best Actress

Oscar Awards:  None

Oscar Context:

The winner of the Best Actress was Louise Fletcher for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”