Watch five minutes of this classic British film and if you've ever read any D.H. Lawrence you'll sense his spirit at work. I was drawn to this after watching the perplexing recent TV adaptation on the BBCWomen in Love [DVD
which attempts, one presumes not ambitiously but for the sake of economy, to amalgamate Women in Love with its prequel The Rainbow. There is a difference of attitude, I found as well, with the 21st century spotlight inclined to sneer (disbelieve) in Lawrence's ideas and to overplay the Rupert-was-a-homosexual perspective.
However we may live now, within half an hour I had concluded that this Oscar-winning film directed by Ken Russell was so immeasurably superior to the TV version as to make its production feeling totally pointless. The beauty of the locations and the romantic quest for sensuality and self-actualization, on the part of all four leading actors, is so vivid, the script better shaped to delineate those characters and the colour of mind and spirit which makes each so very unique.
In a way it can't help being coloured by the era of production, the 1960s. At times I felt they were living in the '60s, not after WW1 but the spirit of the '60s apparently has more in common with the 1920s than our hyper-post-ironical-modernism in the new millennium.
Alan Bates and Oliver Reed make much more plausible lovers than the recent chaps and the ladies here are more bewitchingly and passionately intriguing than the duo of Rosamund Pike and Rachael Stirling - attractive though they are. The film is full of unforgettable scenes: Hermione's dance of the widows, Gudrun spooking the cattle, the tableau of drowned lovers, Rupert and Gerald wrestling, Rupert running from the house and going feral, etc.
Visually stunning, winningly scripted and superbly cast.