Throwback Thursday: In Celebration

Utilizing the same brilliant cast as In Celebration‘s original highly acclaimed Royal Court Theater run, director Lindsay Anderson (O Lucky ManIf) re-imagined his stage triumph into a riveting cinematic experience back in 1975. Anderson grounds David Storey‘s ferocious and poignant drama in a setting that as realistic as the playwright’s caustic portrait of generational hypocrisy is universal.

In their tiny house in a Yorkshire mining town, God-fearing and hardworking Mr. and Mrs. Shaw (Bill Owen and Constance Chapman) welcome their sons home to celebrate the couple’s fortieth wedding anniversary. But with each son’s arrival, more and more of the Shaw’s model blue collar family facade begins to chip away. Middle son Colin’s (James Bolam) engagement has placed him on the path to a loveless marriage. Barely shouldering the burdens of his shattered artisitic aspirations and his own family, Steven, the baby, brilliantly played by Brian Cox, is on the threshold of a nervous breakdown. But the toaster tossed into this already scalding theatrical bath is Alan Bates as eldest son Andrew. As father, mother, and brothers futiley try to hide the truth from themselves and each other, Bates’ Andrew tears into the Shaw family’s carefully maintained fictions with animal fury and all-too-human bitterness.

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Women in Love © Criterion Collection

Throwback Thursday: Women in Love

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.”

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