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The Rainbow [DVD] [1989]

4.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Sammi Davis, Paul McGann, Amanda Donohoe, Glenda Jackson, Dudley Sutton
  • Directors: Ken Russell
  • Producers: Ken Russell
  • Format: PAL, Colour, Full Screen, HiFi Sound
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Lions Gate Home Ent. UK Ltd
  • DVD Release Date: 24 Sept. 2007
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000H8RW2E
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,789 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Ken Russell's sensuous dramatisation of DH Lawrence's novel stars Sammi Davis as Ursula Brangwen, a young women in the process of discovering her sexuality. At school she enjoys a passionate affair with the gym mistress Winifred Inger (Amanda Donohoe), and later becomes a teacher herself. But when she meets and marries the soldier Anton Skrebensky (Paul McGann), it gradually becomes clear to her that true satisfaction lies elsewhere.

From Amazon.co.uk

A respectable and picturesque realisation of DH Lawrence's novel, 1989's The Rainbow is director Ken Russell's prequel to his 1969 version of Women in Love. By Russell's standards, this is a remarkably restrained treatment of Lawrence's novel, set in the Midlands in the 19th century: with its lush, rural setting and quaint bucolic soundtrack there are moments when you might imagine you're watching The Railway Children--until the sex scenes kick in, that is.

Her soul infused with infinite longing by the sight of a rainbow as a child, Ursula Brangwen grows up restless at the prescribed roles set out for women in Victorian England, which are stoically endured by her mother (Glenda Jackson, who played Ursula's sister Gudrun in Women in Love). She idealises her swimming instructor--the older, more experienced Winifred (Amanda Donohoe) with whom she enjoys a passionate, borderline lesbian relationship. She becomes a schoolteacher against her parents' wishes, and takes up with Paul McGann, who is somewhat tepid as a Boer War officer. Ultimately, however, she finds all of these limitations too constraining and finally strikes out on her own in search of true spiritual and sexual freedom.

On the DVD: This is a full-screen version of the film, ratio 4:3. The sound quality is fine as is the colour and sharpness, though like the film itself, not quite as ravishing as you might hope. Special features consist of a routine trailer ("She played by her passion, not by their rules") and disappointingly perfunctory "filmographies" of the director and cast: merely lists of their previous movies. --David Stubbs --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 24 Sept. 2003
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
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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Format: VHS Tape
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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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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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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Format: 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.
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"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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I Have bought this as I have just read the book which was really lovely. I hope I will enjoy this and the reviews I read were encouraging. I happened to briefly see some of it on tv and it made me want to buy the dvd. I have also enjoyed Lady Chatterley's lover and Women in love on dvd. Both were directed by Ken Russel as is this.
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Format: 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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