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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat


The Rainbow
Directed by Ken Russell
Artisan Entertainment 05/89 DVD/VHS Feature Film

This novel by D.H. Lawrence is the predecessor to Women in Love. It charts the hit-and-miss coming of age of Ursula, an irrepresible romantic and dreamer who sees herself in turn-of-the-century England as an "aristocrat of the spirit." She is ushered into the joys of loving a life untamed by convention by her teacher Winifred (Amanda Donohoe). "The best you'll ever get from a man is passion," she counsels Ursula, " and not even that will last." This view is borne out in this character's on-again and off-again affair with Anton, a soldier who wants her to follow him to India as his servile wife. Ursula refuses to domesticate her spirit and this causes difficulties with Anton (Paul McCann); her mother (Glenda Jackson); her wealthy industrialist uncle (David Hemmings); and the tyrannical headmaster (Jim Carter) at the school where she lands a job teaching. D.H.Lawreence once observed: "We can't make life. We can but fight for the life that grows in us."

This vibrant screen version of The Rainbow is in sync with the novelist's evergreen philosophy, his unusual perspective on sexual politics, and his sensuous celebration of the interplay between nature and people. The lush cinematography by Billy Williams is a real treat. Ken Russell has fashioned another triumph with this film. He'll go down in history as the preeminent interpreter of D.H. Lawrence.


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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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