HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Harpoon
Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, The
Dark Phoenix
No Mercy
Arctic
Fate of Lee Khan, The
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
America America
Darkest Minds, The
Along Came Jones
Hummingbird Project, The
Under the Table You Must Go
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War
Hanging Tree, The
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
Itsy Bitsy
Witchmaker, The
Prey, The
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Happy Death Day 2U
Full Moon High
Strange But True
Kamikaze 1989
Never Grow Old
Time of Your Life, The
Mountain Men, The
Epic
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Isabelle
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Oblomov
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
   
 
Newest Articles
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
   
 
  Women in Love Some People Are Never HappyBuy this film here.
Year: 1969
Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Alan Bates, Oliver Reed, Glenda Jackson, Jennie Linden, Eleanor Bron, Alan Webb, Vladek Sheybal, Catherine Wilmer, Phoebe Nicholls, Sharon Gurney, Christopher Gable, Michael Gough, Norma Shebbearre, Nike Arrighi, James Laurenson
Genre: Drama, Romance
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: 1921, the English Midlands, and there is to be a wedding today, between the local mine owner’s daughter and a soldier, and it is set to be a grand occasion, though the groom will be late. Two of the couple's friends are sisters, Gudrun (Glenda Jackson) and Ursula (Jennie Linden), and against their parents' wishes they are not going to stick around at home to meet their aunt who will be visiting for the first time in years, they prefer to be at the wedding, where after the ceremony each of them allow their gaze to alight upon two best friends, Rupert (Alan Bates) and Gerald (Oliver Reed). This sends them both into a reverie of remembering, since they both feel they could very well settle down with those men, though at this stage in their lives they wonder if that could be akin to closing themselves down to experience...

Director Ken Russell's adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's celebrated novel was devoted to elevating the sensual to the highest form of gratification humanity could achieve, making them at one with nature yet also able to intellectualise about their feelings and aspirations. This was much of the reason behind the mixed reception Women in Love received, both as a book and then around forty years later as a film, for there were those who felt that giving in to such sensations was foolish at best and selfish at worst, though in Russell's favour he appeared aware that there was a note of the ridiculous in this work, and even that it was intentional though the more sincere examination of lifting the veil on male/female and male/male relationships was ever-present.

There was a point in British filmmaking around the mid-nineteen-sixties to the early seventies where directors left the studios behind (mostly) and took their cameras out into the countryside, just as the hippy movement was evolving into a health kick that implored humanity to get back to nature, and Women in Love was part of that under the guise of a literary tribute, with humanity the ideal combination of the environment and what is manmade, be that industrial or intellectual. Therefore a number of sequences were set in rural locations, actually taken from around England wherever they could capture the best-looking scenery available, yet there were additionally scenes where the characters would wholeheartedly embrace the natural world, literally as they rolled about in long grass, clasped branches to their naked bodies, or swam in stretches of water to truly feel at one with the world about them.

This has been a stumbling block for audiences and critics alike not willing to go with that kind of sincerity, and Russell felt very strongly about the power of flora, fauna and the elements which you can tell from watching his work, rarely more so than here. Rather than following on from his Harry Palmer series entry Billion Dollar Brain, this felt more of a piece with the television productions at the BBC that had made his name, recreating the lives of those with artistic temperaments who had enjoyed success in their chosen area. But there was one part Russell could show here that he couldn’t on the small screen, or rather a few parts as this was one of the first mainstream works to depict sex scenes and nudity from the stars of the show, though Glenda Jackson was not a celebrity when she won her Oscar-securing role, while Jennie Linden mysteriously failed to capitalise on this worldwide success.

That said, Alan Bates and Oliver Reed were not exactly global megastars either though they had done well enough to headline their own movies in the sixties, so if anything was demonstrated here it was the manner in which a nude scene could get the public talking about you, and here were the first examples. These days it's impossible to mention Women in Love without reference to Bates and Reed getting their kit off for their naked wrestling scene, at once absurd yet also very relevant to the understanding of their roles, for Rupert and Gerald in another era would have been a very content romantic couple. The sadness of that is, they cannot admit that (the play-fighting is as close to intimacy as they can get) and therefore choose to pursue the two sisters who are too strong-willed to ever really satisfy them, so you can see Lawrence was placing male comradeship on a pedestal above the love between men and women. In truth, it was difficult to discern from this film whether we were supposed to agree with that or take a step back and assess the players from a more scientific angle, but whichever appealed to you would prove diverting if you immersed yourself in this troubled but superficially attractive realm. Music by George Delerue.

[OK, here are the abundant extras on the BFI Blu-ray:

New 4K restoration by the BFI National Archive
•Original theatrical trailer
•Billy Williams OBE BSC in conversation with Phil Méheux BSC (2015, 49 mins): in-depth interview with the Oscar winning cinematographer
•Audio commentary with director Ken Russell
•Audio commentary with writer and producer Larry Kramer
•Second Best (Stephen Dartnell, 1972, 27 mins): previously unreleased short film starring Alan Bates based on the short story by D H Lawrence
•The Guardian Lecture: Glenda Jackson interviewed at the National Film Theatre (1982, 77 mins, audio only)
•The Pacemakers: Glenda Jackson (1971, 14 mins): a documentary profile in which the actress speaks of her performance in Women in Love
•Stills and Collections gallery
•Illustrated booklet with new writing by Michael Brooke, Paul Sutton and Vic Pratt, and full film credits.

An absolute bargain for all that.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1867 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Ken Russell  (1927 - 2011)

It was trips to the cinema with his mother that made British director, writer and producer Ken Russell a lifelong film fan and this developed into making his own short films. From there, he directed dramas on famous composers for the BBC, and was soon making his own features.

French Dressing did not make much of an impact, but if his Harry Palmer episode Billion Dollar Brain was fairly well received, then his follow up, Women in Love really put Russell on the international movie map. From there the seventies produced most of the highlights of his career, never shying away from controversy, with The Music Lovers, The Devils (most reviled of his films and his masterpiece), musical The Boy Friend, and more music and artist based works with Savage Messiah, Mahler, Tommy (the film of The Who's concept album) and Lisztomania.

After the seventies, which he ended with the biopic Valentino, his popularity declined somewhat with Altered States suffering production difficulties and later projects difficult to get off the ground. Nevertheless, he directed Crimes of Passion, Gothic, Salome's Last Dance, cult horror Lair of the White Worm and The Rainbow in the eighties, but the nineties and beyond saw more erratic output, with many short films that went largely unseen, although a UK TV series of Lady Chatterley was a success. At the age of 79 he appeared on reality TV show Celebrity Big Brother but walked out after a few days. Russell was one of Britain's most distinctive talents, and his way of going passionately over the top was endearing and audacious, while he rarely lost sight of his stories' emotional aspects.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: