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Trailers from Hell: Dan Ireland on Ken Russell’s ‘Women in Love,’ Starring Oliver Reed

Trailers from Hell: Dan Ireland on Ken Russell's 'Women in Love,' Starring Oliver Reed

Oliver Reed Week! kicks off at Trailers from Hell with director Dan Ireland introducing “Women in Love,” Ken Russell’s third theatrical feature film and only work to be Oscar nominated.

Oliver Reed (who was once considered to replace Sean Connery
as James Bond) had already played Debussy and Rossetti for director Ken Russell
in a couple of his BBC biopics, and went on to topline his greatest film, The
Devils. The director’s usual flamboyance is somewhat muted in his third
theatrical feature, resulting in his only Oscar nomination. Larry Kramer’s
smart adaptation, coinciding with the sexual revolution and bohemian politics
of the late sixties, utilizes much of D.H. Lawrence’s original dialog.

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Yes, it holds up well. I caught it again just last year (via an old VHS tape that the library was throwing out). It remains as striking as ever. Glenda Jackson is taut and edgy, Alan Bates is a little over the top, but Oliver Reed is a wonder. Before the booze got him, he had a lot of power and he did a fine job of restraining it. Of course, "restraint" was something that Ken Russell soon jettisoned. Anyone interesting in seeing a director lose his way in bad dreams should see "Mahler."

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