Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Women in Love

(UK, 1969)

Here is the film that really put Ken Russell on the map. Adapted from a story by D.H. Lawrence. It’s a powerful ensemble of Glenda Jackson, Oliver Reed, Alan Bates, and Jenny Linden, the only one who did not go on to a major career. (She bore a surprising resemblance to Julie Christie. I wonder if that was a factor?) They are two middle class sisters who manage to hobnob with the upper classes.

The plot is rather minimal, in my opinion. Each of the sisters marries one of the men, but neither really loves him. The film is remembered for a scandalous scene in which Bates and Reed, both naked, wrestle in a room lit by a fireplace, with no coy camera angles. The homo-eroticism in the scene is overpowering. Though Bates professes his love for Reed, I never got the idea that it was physical love he meant; he had no interest in having sex with the man, nor did Reed reciprocate. In the end, nobody really finds love.