Women in Love is set in 1920s England, where free-spirited artist Gudrun (Glenda Jackson) and her schoolteacher sister Ursula (Jennie Linden) make the acquaintance of lifelong friends Gerald (Oliver Reed) and Rupert (Alan Bates). The foursome attends a picnic in honor of a pair of newlyweds, who put a damper on the proceedings (literally!) by drowning in a nearby lake. Evidently unscathed by this tragedy, Gerald and Rupert participate in a nude wrestling match later that evening (this was the sequence that got the most press, thanks to fleeting glimpses of the male stars' privates). Gerald marries Gudrun, Rupert weds Ursula, and the foursome embarks upon a Swiss honeymoon. The holiday is marred by infidelity and sudden death, leaving Rupert to wonder aloud just what it is that makes men and women "tick." An Academy Award went to Glenda Jackson, while nominations were bestowed upon screenwriter Larry Kramer and cinematographer Billy Williams (who received an uncredited assist from director Ken Russell).
Women in Love 5 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
Perhaps Ken Russell's best all-around film, containing flawless performances by Alan Bates, Oliver Reed, Jennie Linden and Glenda Jackson (Best Actress Oscar) as well as some of the most resourceful use of lighting and color in Seventies cinema. Released in the U.S. in 1970, the film was Russell's first major success, and most critics were quick to point out how closely it followed D.H. Lawrence's novel. In bringing Lawrence's complex study of human love and passion to the screen, Russell made a film of both emotional impact and visual power. The way he handles the intimate encounters of the four principles is especially good, and the lovemaking in the film has all the grace and beauty of ballet, the characters caressing and embracing in fluid slow motion. "Women in Love" is an immensely complex but perfectly controlled film which displays Russell's talent for matching landscape with the emotional affinities of the people in it and infusing both with Lawrence's argument for love in the widest, freest sense. Russell's instinct for the look and feel of a film have never been so admirably in touch with the inspiration of a great artist as they were in "Women in Love". His talent to appall and abuse is what ultimately remains. In a film created with keen intelligence, integrity, and meticulous period flavor, D.H. Lawrence's ideas about life and love retain remarkable potency. [filmfactsman]