Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
United Kingdom, 1969. Brandywine Productions. Screenplay by Larry Kramer, based on the novel by D.H. Lawrence. Cinematography by Billy Williams. Produced by Larry Kramer. Music by Georges Delerue. Production Design by Kenneth Jones. Costume Design by Shirley Russell. Film Editing by Michael Bradsell. Academy Awards 1969. Golden Globe Awards 1969. National Board of Review Awards 1970. New York Film Critics Awards 1970.
Ken Russell’s best film ever is still this excellent adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s racy novel, about two sisters who search for true love and think they’ve found it in two very troubled men. Screenwriter Larry Kramer adapts the story to be just as provocative as the novel was upon its first release (Lawrence’s explicitly sexual writing eventually got him booted out of England). Glenda Jackson is terrific as Ursula, the older and more subdued sister who just can’t figure her lover out, as is Jennie Linden as Gudrun, the artistic sister who has a tragic affair with the local colliery owner. Oliver Reed and Alan Bates play the two suitors who at one point indulge in a wonderfully homoerotic nude wrestling scene, while Russell’s direction is first-rate, the production values still gorgeous to look at thirty years after the film was made. A must for literary fans.