I have only hazy memories of the Ken Russell movies of Women In Love and The Rainbow but now I feel like seeing them again, for the sake of comparison.
This three hour conflation of the two novels, broadcast in two 1.5 hr segments on the BBC, started well enough but fell apart in its concluding ninety minutes. Two passionate and independently minded sisters, one an artist the other a schoolteacher: two potential suitors, one a (probably gay) bible-thumper and the other a taciturn man of action. Bring them all together - result: mess.
The problem, one of the problems, was that the psychology of the characters became incomprehensible the longer it went on, so the acting began to seem hammy and at the tragic finale, hilarious. In the second half, the parents of the two sisters vanish from sight for no apparent reason. Kinnear gives the best performance as the perturbed Rupert, but it seemed hard to believe that Ursula with her profound physical needs should set her heart on him. I thought Mawle and Pike's performances declined as their character's behaviour became more bizarre.
There is a fair amount of clothed sex and a fair amount of nude bathing and wrestling, but overall it's not very romantic and ideally more rhetoric - such as Rupert's speech about intelligent design - would have been welcome. The perpetual close-ups and such make for a claustrophobic atmosphere. The combination of old and recent music, Arvo Part (I think) and Bach's Goldberg Variations (the aria that Hannibal Lecter butchered the cops to) was also a bit distracting.
In short, I think a literary classic was dusted off and given a dutiful BBC adaptation replete with actors, screen-playwright and even (target) audience unable to empathise with the material, so the soul of the author got lost. I've only read one full length Lawrence novel, Lady Chatterley, and I loved it. It fascinated me. Why didn't this?