DH Lawrence and Cinema

film adaptations of D.H. Larence's novels and stories

Lawrence had a great deal of trouble getting his work to the public. Many of his major novels were first censored then banned for reasons that now seem ridiculous. He was one of the first major writers to bring honest and explicit consideration of human sexuality into the realms of literature, and he did so using language that was frank and realistic.

It is therefore slightly ironic that his work has been so readily and popularly adapted for film and television. (The same is true of plays he wrote, many of which were not performed during his own lifetime.) The selection listed below vary in both their quality and their fidelity to the original texts, but they are all good examples of translation from one medium to another.


Sons and Lovers (novel 1913 – TV film 2013)

Paul Morel is the sensitive son of a rough miner and an artistic mother living in the Nottingham coal fields. He is caught between the two worlds they represent. As he grows to maturity he tries to establish relationships with women, but he is hampered by his attachment to his mother. When she dies he is left with nothing.

Directed by Stephen Whittaker. Screenplay by Simon Burke. Starring – Sarah Lancashire, Hugo Speer, James Murray, Rupert Evans, Lyndsay Marshall, and Esther Hall. Filmed on the Isle of Man.

DH Lawrence and Cinema Sons and Lovers – film adaptation on DVD – Amazon UK

DH Lawrence and Cinema Details of the film – [different version] – IMDb

DH Lawrence and Cinema Sons and Lovers – Wordsworth Classics paperback – Amazon UK

DH Lawrence and Cinema Sons and Lovers – Wordsworth Classics paperback – Amazon US

 


Lady Chatterley’s Lover (novel 1928 – film 2006)

This is a French adaptation based on the second less well known version of the novel. Directed by Pascale Ferran. Screenplay by Ferran and Roger Bohbot. Starring – Marina Hands (Constance Chatterley), Jean-Louis Coulloch (Mellors), Hippolyte Giradot (Sir Clifford Chatterley), Helene Alexandridis (Mrs Bolton), Helene Filleres (Hilda). Filmed in Limousin, Correze, and Ambazac, France.

There is an earlier French version (1955) directed by Marc Allegret, and a version directed by Just Jaekin in 1981 which features the soft-porn actress Sylvia Kristel. Most recently, the BBC produced a TV film version directed by Jed Mercurio (2015).

DH Lawrence and Cinema Lady Chatterley’s Lover – 2006 adaptation on DVD – Amazon UK

DH Lawrence and Cinema Details of the film – Internet Movie Database

DH Lawrence and Cinema Lady Chatterley’s Lover – a tutorial and study guide

DH Lawrence and Cinema Lady Chatterley’s Lover – Collins Classics paperback – Amazon UK

DH Lawrence and Cinema Lady Chatterley’s Lover – Collins Classics paperback – Amazon US

 


The Rainbow (novel 1915 – film 1989)

This is Lawrence’s version of a family saga. The novel traces the history of three generations of Derbyshire farmers the Brangwens. Ken Russell’s film focuses attention on Ursula, the younger of two sisters. She dreams of emancipating herself, becomes entangled in a lesbian relationship with an older woman, then trains to be a teacher. She has a passionate affair with a Polish soldier, but in the end chooses to remain independent.

Directed and produced by English maverick Ken Russell (1989). Screenplay by Ken and Vivian Russell. Starring – Glenda Jackson (Anna Brangwen), Sammi Davis (Ursula Brangwen), Paul McGann (Anton Skrebensky), Amanda Donohoe (Winifred Inger), David Hemmings (Uncle Henry). Filmed in Borrowdale and Keswick, Lake District, England.

DH Lawrence and Cinema The Rainbow – film adaptation on DVD – Amazon UK

DH Lawrence and Cinema Details of the film – Internet Movie Database

DH Lawrence and Cinema The Rainbow – Wordsworth Classics paperback – Amazon UK

DH Lawrence and Cinema The Rainbow – Wordsworth Classics paperback – Amazon US

 


Women in Love (novel 1920 – film 1969)

This story is a continuation of The Rainbow, following the development of Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen. The sisters explore new types of relationships with two men who are good friends. The results are successful in essence but ambiguous in one case, and disastrous in the other. A very stylish and successful adaptation by maverick British director Ken Russell, with very good performances from an all-star cast.

Directed by Ken Russell. Screenplay by Larry Kramer. Starring – Alan Bates (Rupert Birkin), Oliver Reed (Gerald Critch), Glenda Jackson (Gudrun Brangwen), Jenny Linden (Ursula Brangwen), Eleanor Bron (Hermione Roddice), Vladel Sheybal (Loerke). Filmed in Derbyshire, Gateshead, Sheffield, England, and Zermatt, Switzerland.

DH Lawrence and Cinema Women in Love – film adaptation on DVD – Amazon UK

DH Lawrence and Cinema Details of the film – Internet Movie Database

DH Lawrence and Cinema Women in Love – a tutorial and study guide

DH Lawrence and Cinema Women in Love – Wordsworth Classics paperback – Amazon UK

DH Lawrence and Cinema Women in Love – Wordsworth Classics paperback – Amazon US

 


The Virgin and the Gipsy (novella 1926 – film 1970)

Yvette and Lucille are the daughters of a vicar in a drab and stifling village in the English West Midlands. Their home life is pervaded by a life-killing sense of meanness and puritanism, and they are dominated by their tyrannical grandmother. Yvette encounters a gypsy family who awaken her sense of rebellion and sensuality. When a flood engulfs the village Yvette is saved by the gypsy, who breathes life back into her, whilst her grandmother drowns nearby.

Directed by Christopher Miles. Screenplay by Alan Plater. Starring – Joanna Shimkus (Yvette), Franco Nero (The Gypsy), Honor Blackman (Mrs Fawcett), Maurice Denham (The Rector), Mark Burns (Major Eastwood). Filmed in Derbyshire and Lee International Studios, England.

DH Lawrence and Cinema The Virgin and the Gypsy – film adaptation on DVD – Amazon UK

DH Lawrence and Cinema Details of the film – Internet Movie Database

DH Lawrence and Cinema The Virgin and the Gypsy – collected novellas paperback – Amazon UK

DH Lawrence and Cinema The Virgin and the Gypsy – collected novellas paperback – Amazon US

 

© Roy Johnson 2016


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