A masterful examination of sexual domination and repression, director Ken Russell‘s powerful rendition of the classic D.H. Lawrence novel follows two Midlands sisters and the tempestuous relationships they form. Released in 1969, Women in Love vaulted Russell onto the international stage and allowed him to continue shattering taboos, much as the source material once did.
Set in an English mining community on the crest of modernity, Women in Love traces the shifting currents of desire that link the emancipated Brangwen sisters (Jennie Linden and an Oscar-winning Glenda Jackson) to a freethinking dreamer (Alan Bates) and a hard-willed industrialist (Oliver Reed) – as well as the men’s own erotically charged friendship. Bates plays a young man who is attracted to the idea of bisexuality – an obsession which culminates in an unforgettable and still-brazen nude wrestling match with the butch Reed. It’s also worth noting that the novel was adapted for the screen by playwright and gay activist Larry Kramer, founder of Act-Up and The Gay Men’s Health Crises and writer behind “The Normal Heart.”
Coupling earthy sensuality with kaleidoscopically stylized images, Russell pursues this amorous quartet to the heights of agony and ecstasy, crafting a breathtaking drama of human sexuality at its most liberating, dominating, and destructive extremes. Recognized by the Criterion Collection, the film is getting a breathtaking new release on DVD and Blu-ray.
Included in the film’s special features are a new, fully restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray; two audio commentaries from 2003, one featuring director Ken Russell and the other screenwriter and producer Larry Kramer ; segments from a 2007 interview with Russell for the BAFTA Los Angeles Heritage Archive; A British Picture: Portrait of an Enfant Terrible, Russell’s 1989 biopic on his own life and career; a 1976 interview with Glenda Jackson; interviews with Kramer and actors Alan Bates and Jennie Linden from the set; new interviews with director of photography Billy Williams and editor Michael Bradsell; Second Best, a 1972 short film based on a D. H. Lawrence story, produced by and starring Bates; the original trailer; and, finally, an essay on the film by scholar Linda Ruth Williams.
Check out the original trailer below and click here to pre-order your copy. It comes to DVD and Blu-ray at the end of March.