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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Rainbow
I watched this video through with my mother and both she and I greatly enjoyed this film in fact she asked to see it again and again. Many nude scenes and but very enjoyable, if you like performing art then this is the film for you. It is a beautiful film that keeps one glued to the TV. A must for anyone interested, this is a British cinamas finest.
Published on 24 Sep 2003

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Indifferent but still worth a peek
After a passionate affair with her free thinking bi-sexual schoolteacher (Amanda Donohoe), a young girl (Sammi Davis) in the Midlands of Victorian England becomes dissatisfied with her placid and rigid surroundings and longs to experience life on her own terms. Based on the D.H. Lawrence novel and directed by Ken Russell, who successfully brought Lawrence's WOMEN IN LOVE...
Published on 13 May 2011 by The CinemaScope Cat


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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Rainbow, 24 Sep 2003
By A Customer
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I watched this video through with my mother and both she and I greatly enjoyed this film in fact she asked to see it again and again. Many nude scenes and but very enjoyable, if you like performing art then this is the film for you. It is a beautiful film that keeps one glued to the TV. A must for anyone interested, this is a British cinamas finest.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Indifferent but still worth a peek, 13 May 2011
By 
The CinemaScope Cat - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rainbow [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
After a passionate affair with her free thinking bi-sexual schoolteacher (Amanda Donohoe), a young girl (Sammi Davis) in the Midlands of Victorian England becomes dissatisfied with her placid and rigid surroundings and longs to experience life on her own terms. Based on the D.H. Lawrence novel and directed by Ken Russell, who successfully brought Lawrence's WOMEN IN LOVE to the screen twenty years earlier, this is a rather indifferent film lacking the provocative ambiance of the 1969 Russell film. This film (as the Lawrence novel) is actually a precursor to WOMEN IN LOVE as the main character of Ursula (predominant here) is one of the four central characters (along with her sister Gudrun) in WOMEN IN LOVE. Russell seems tired here, the film could have used some of that "oomph" he brings to his best work. Sammi Davis as Ursula is a charmer (it's a pity she left acting so early to concentrate on marriage) but with the exception of Donohoe and David Hemmings, the rest of the cast don't register. Glenda Jackson as Davis's mother (Jackson playing the mother of the character, Gudrun, that she won an Oscar for in 1970) is wasted, Paul McCann is rather listless as the solider who sets Davis on fire. The score is by Carl Davis. With Christopher Gable (THE BOY FRIEND) as the father.

The Lionsgate DVD from Great Britain is a nicely rendered transfer but, alas, not wide screen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful little film, 25 Jan 2014
This review is from: The Rainbow [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
The product itself is a bare bones version in full-screen (i.e. if you have a little telly it'll fit lovely, if you have a widescreen, you might have to distort the picture to get rid of the black bars around it). No subtitles, though we get a suitably cheesy trailer about a girl who refuses to play by the rules, and scene selection (no doubt some will have, er, favoured scenes).

But despite the vanilla release, the picture is anything but vanilla. It's dated, low budget and stars an actress who can't act, and yet I think it's a beautiful film- one of my favourites.

Director Ken Russell was made for DH Lawrence. I've only seen clips of his other Lawrence adaptations (Women in Love and Lady Chatterley's Lover) but to me, this is perfect Lawrence- the aspects of Lawrence that people should focus on, rather than Lawrence's philosophical ponderings and wanderings into smut. What Lawrence's works are really about is the 'life instinct'- the drive humans have towards beauty, fulfilment and fertility, escaping everything that is dead and empty.

The rainbow of the title is the unreachable goal of the life instinct. Nevertheless, young lass Ursula Brangwen (Sammi Davis) yearns for the personal fulfilment she believes it will give her. She attempts to fulfil herself through work and the two great loves of her life: strident gym mistress Winifred Inger (Amanda Donohoe) and dashing soldier Anton Skrebensky (Paul McGann). Coincidentally, both McGann and Donohoe star together in Paper Mask, which came out the following year. But Ursula learns that people cannot be relied on for fulfilment, and that true fulfilment comes from the ability to cope with the challenges that life brings.

It's a wonderful message for a costume drama to have. All the attempts to try and distort classic works into symbols of feminism, and praising the feistiness of the heroines are futile, because a costume drama heroine cannot be complete without her man. Naturally this leaves the female viewer yearning for some Mr Darcy but what a sad indictment of womanhood: you will always be miserable and unfulfilled until you have a man. Well, Ursula gets plenty of fulfilment but she refuses to be defined by anybody else.

Though Sammi Davis is not a great actress, she is at least spirited. Of course, this involves a lot of uncontrollable giggling and strange intonation that makes everything she says sound cheesy. However I find her performance perversely charming; that one note of optimism perfectly fits with Lawrence's life instinct. You genuinely feel as if she has that rainbow in her mind all the time. Besides, Ursula doesn't really 'grow up' until Women in Love (though this film was made after Russell's version of Women in Love, The Rainbow is actually the prequel), so the film needs that contrast.

Amanda Donohoe has a far from flattering character to play and yet she does play the older woman well (despite being roughly the same age as Davis). You can see how Ursula would look up to Winifred as a powerful woman, admiring her sexual candour. Donohoe's performance is brilliantly deceptive; for all Winifred's talk of bohemian values, she's able to play at being a conventional woman. One wonders whether Winifred really does have principles or whether she simply likes the idea of being the corrupter.

Paul McGann (aka. 'I' from Withnail and I, aka The Eighth Doctor) is perfect as Anton Skrebensky. It's not really much of a role and yet McGann is brilliant at 'not much of a role' roles. His dashing-o-meter is off the scale as he courts Ursula. The audience might be mistaken for thinking that they're going to get a charming old-fashioned costume drama hero. But when someone familiar with Lawrence hears the line "That's because you can't imagine me out of my uniform", you know that the promise will be delivered. Underneath that conventional uniform is Lawrencian lustiness, providing Ursula with the sexual fulfilment she craves. However underneath THAT is a prissy conventionality. The whole point of this role is emptiness; Anton is meant to be charming but essentially he is a toy soldier, merely a sexual fantasy.

Because this is Russell and Lawrence, we get a whole heap of Freudian imagery, rather heavy-handedly at times. I recently noticed the rocking movement- it's no coincidence that we keep getting that rocking movement. Of course, we all know what that's leading up to! The second Freudian image is the moon that Ursula watches during a sex scene with Anton; you'd be forgiven for thinking she was about to turn into a werewolf! However, it does do something interesting. Anton becomes almost invisible; what matters is Ursula's need for fulfilment. We do see them together as a couple, in the shot that graces the DVD cover. In the film, that's the bit where they make love against a tree, complete with gushing waterfall in the background! Okay, we get it.

People tend to watch costume dramas because they are relatively sexless. It's all looks and good old-fashioned courtship, though if you're lucky, you'll get a woman in her corset or Colin Firth in a wet shirt. Here, you get a fair bit of nudity and sex, because it's inescapably part of the story. All of the main three actors strip off and yet it's done relatively tastefully (yes, I was shocked too!). It's more about the celebration of the body, rather than titilation, and I admire the actors for their bravery.

There's many films that people say are inspirational and inspire them to go out and better themselves, but The Rainbow is genuinely inspirational. It makes you want to go outside and experience everything, following your own path towards coming-of-age and spiritual fulfilment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top notch Ken Russell, 19 Aug 2013
By 
Opusmalone (Lived everywhere) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rainbow [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
"The Rainbow" is Ken Russell at his literary best: a little bit OTT, slightly gratuitous and always wholly committed to every scene and camera framing. He always goes beyond telling a story (similar to Hitchcock's loathing of most films being "pictures of people talking"). Instead, he paints, he swoons, he editorialises and offends, and consequently insists we get involved and care about the issues, not just the pretty faces and bodies.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Rainbow vhs, 27 Feb 2006
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Ms. N. Canham "nicolacanham" (orpington, uk) - See all my reviews
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The Rainbow is a really great story of a young girl called Ursula who has a brief affair first with her school teacher and then a passionate affair with anton, a young soldier, who she becomes engaged to.
Ursula finds that the prospect of being married to anton to restricting and she sets out on her own to experience life.
Paul Mcgann is great in this movie, some of his best work, he's perfect as the handsome young soldier.
This movie is definetly worth a watch.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I had watched it on a Cable Tv network and enjoyed the less excentric films that we are use to ..., 4 July 2014
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This review is from: The Rainbow [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
One of the more gentle KEN RUSSELL films.I had watched it on a Cable Tv network and enjoyed the less excentric films that we are use to from KEN RUSSELL a nice change.Whilst the actresses were his regulars and looked has they thoroughly enjoyed making this film which helped .
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3.0 out of 5 stars the rainbow, 25 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The Rainbow [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
it will amuse you for a while but a bit dated now but worth a watch as the acting is good
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Get the 1988 BBC adaptation instead!, 1 Oct 2012
By 
P. Smith - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rainbow [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
Ken Russell's effort does not come close to the wonderful BBC version filmed the year before this version. The only copy to buy is on this DVD, where the Rainbow has second billing for some reason (see the purple box inset on the cover) Widowing of Mrs Holroyd [DVD] [2008] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]. That one is the full three episode series, each an hour long.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Russell's return to D.H. Lawrence is a bouncy little tale, 13 April 2011
By 
Philoctetes (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rainbow [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
Twenty years on from Women In Love [DVD] [1969] and Ken Russell provided a sequel, The Rainbow, starring Paul McGann (Withnail & I), Amanda Donohoe (Castaway, etc), David Hemmings (Blow UP) and in the central role of Ursula, Sammi Davis. Compared to its predecessor, Rainbow is just a tad garish, the musical score too bold for what is quite a small theme about a young woman's search for personal freedom and romantic experience.

Everybody plays their part to perfection, but it's not as engaging, at least in my opinion, as Women In Love's mixed-doubles. Some sex and nudity and some violence, but nothing excessive. One advantage it has is that it doesn't feel, visualy, so much a product of its time as Women In Love (late 1960s) did.

Well worth a look.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Typical Russell movie, 13 Nov 2011
This review is from: The Rainbow [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
The characters philosophize and muse about love, war, religion, marriage, etc. but there is no clear line here. Sure, it's about the maturing of a girl who, since seeing a rainbow in childhood, strives for higher things. But she can't reach them any more than she can have that rainbow. The film isn't boring, though; it's fairly interesting, but hardly fascinating. As is to be expected from a Ken Russell film there is yet again homosexuality; but, thank God, this time it's lesbianism. There is also the absurdity of the ease with which Donohue seduces Davis. What was that all about? I mean, apart from the fact that everyone seems to be insane in a Russell movie.
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The Rainbow [DVD] [1989]
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