Women in Love (1970) Film Review

Women in Love
DIRECTOR: Ken Russell
BOTTOM LINE: Future gay activist Larry Kramer’s (founder of both GMHC and ACT UP) adaptation of D.H Lawrence’s 1920 novel “Women in Love” was an enormous critical and commercial success earning four Oscar Nominations:
  • Best Actress: Glenda Jackson (won).
  • Best Director: Ken Russell (nominated).
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: Larry Kramer (nominated).
  • Best Cinematography: Billy Williams (nominated).
The film takes place in 1920, in the midlands mining town of Beldover. Two sisters, Ursula (Jennie Lindon) and Gudrun (Jackson), discuss marriage on their way to the wedding of Laura Crich, daughter of the town’s wealthy mine owner. At the village church, a particular member of the wedding party fascinates each sister – Gudrun is taken by Laura’s brother, Gerald (Oliver Reed) and Ursula is impressed by Gerald’s best friend, Rupert Birkin (Alan Bates). Ursula is a schoolteacher and Rupert is a school inspector; she remembers his visit to her classroom, interrupting her botany lesson to discourse on the sexual nature of the catkin. The four are later brought together by a mutual friend and as Jennie and Rupert start dating so do Gudrun and Gerald.
What makes this a queer film, is the famous nude wrestling scene by firelight between Redd (Gerald) and Bates (Rupert). Rupert enjoys their closeness and says they should swear to love each other, but Gerald cannot understand Rupert’s idea of wanting to have an emotional union with a man as well as an emotional and physical union with a woman.
POST TITLE:  Twenty-Seven Queer Films 1967-1976. Queer Cinema Comes Out.
CATEGORY: My Favorites
SUBCATEGORY: Queer Film
STREAMING: “Women in Love” is not available for streaming. However, the DVD can be purchased on Amazon.

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