The BFI Bluray of Ken Russell‘s Women in Love pops on Monday, 8.22. According to British Amazon I’ll receive it sometime between Wednesday, 8.24 and Friday, 8.26. Because I paid an extra $31 (24 British pounds) for priority shipping. I want a week to savor and settle in with it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this 1969 film in serious tip-top shape, having only caught it once or twice in a Manhattan rep house in the late ’70s or early ’80s.
If Women in Love had never appeared in ’69 and yet was somehow recreated by a fresh creative team and released this fall by Focus Features or Fox Searchlight, it would instantly vault into the Best Picture category. Because nobody and I mean nobody makes brainy period dramas as good as this for the theatrical market any more.
Posted on 2.4.14: Ken Russsell‘s Women in Love (’69), indisputably his greatest film, demands a meticulous high-def remastering, if for no other reason than the cinematography by Billy Williams (Gandhi, On Golden Pond).
“Women is one of the most sensual films ever made about men, women and relationships (and I’m not just talking about the nude wrestling scene between Oliver Reed and Alan Bates), and one of the most anguished in portraying the sadnesses and frustrations that plague so many relationships and marriages.
“It’s also one of the first mainstream films to fully explore and dramatize the lives and longings of free-spirited, semi-emancipated 20th Century women (i.e., Glenda Jackson‘s Isadora Duncan-like Gudrun and Jennie Linden‘s somewhat more conservative Ursula) in a historical context.
Features: New 2K restoration by the BFI National Archive; Original theatrical trailer; Audio commentary with director Ken Russell; Audio commentary with writer and producer Larry Kramer; Second Best (Stephen Dartnell, 1972, 25 mins): a rare, unreleased short film starring Alan Bates based on the short story by D H Lawrence; The Guardian Lecture: Glenda Jackson interviewed at the National Film Theatre (1982, 90 mins, audio only); The Pacemakers 14: Glenda Jackson (1974, 14 mins): profile and interview with Glenda Jackson which includes post-production work on Women in Love.