Episode Two begins with a brutal scene between a British and German soldier in a World War I trench and does not dwell on that war much beyond that – its horror has been starkly encapsulated in that one act of kill or be killed.
Women In Love then returns to the peace if a broken and haunted peace.
The idealism of the first episode replaced with dreams broken yet accommodated – for all of the main characters the Brangwen sisters themselves and Gerald Crich (the brutal and brutalised soldier) and Rupert Birkin.
Their hearts and minds are stripped even more naked in this ending episode. Gudrun Brangwen who gave the appearance at least of frivolity in the first episode deepened considerably in this second and I thought Rosamund Pike who played her turned in the most impressive of all the performances.
Women In Love’s preoccupations of love and sex, the purpose of art and how we should live our life all felt very modern and I had to remind myself that DH Lawrence wrote this story the best part of a century ago. I am glad that the BBC brought it to wider attention.
I have just watched the first episode of the Company Pictures production for BBC 4 the D.H. Lawrence adaptation ‘Women In Love‘ – an adaptation not just of the book of the same name but its prequel The Rainbow.
Women In Love was also made into a film by Ken Russell in 1969 but unseen by me like the novels are unread so this then was my first introduction to its saga of the Brangwen sisters.
Set in the first decades of the 19th Century this is a tale of passions bridled and unbridled, in marriage and out, amidst science and religion colliding – industrial technological progress welcome and unwelcome. All unfolded in a whirl quickly bringing the first ninety minute episode to its close.
Hermione Ruddice played by Olivia Grant
I thought the casting was impressive throughout and I particularly enjoyed Rachael Stirling as Ursula Brangwen, Rory Kinnear as Rupert Birkin, Joseph Mawle as Gerald Crich and Olivia Grant as Hermione Roddice.
I am looking forward the second and concluding episode aired later this week – in these days of time-shifted programming I am not going to list particular dates and times save to say it will be aired a number of times on BBC 4 and its HD channel along with the web courtesy of the BBC iPlayer
And yet more books that I will have to add to my reading list!