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A respectable and picturesque realisation of DH Lawrence's novel, 1989's The Rainbow is director Ken Russell's prequel to his 1969 version of Women in Love. By Russell's standards, this is a remarkably restrained treatment of Lawrence's novel, set in the Midlands in the 19th century: with its lush, rural setting and quaint bucolic soundtrack there are moments when you might imagine you're watching The Railway Children--until the sex scenes kick in, that is. Her soul infused with infinite longing by the sight of a rainbow as a child, Ursula Brangwen grows up restless at the prescribed roles set out for women in Victorian England, which are stoically endured by her mother (Glenda Jackson, who played Ursula's sister Gudrun in Women in Love). She idealises her swimming instructor--the older, more experienced Winifred (Amanda Donohoe) with whom she enjoys a passionate, borderline lesbian relationship. She becomes a schoolteacher against her parents' wishes, and takes up with Paul McGann, who is somewhat tepid as a Boer War officer. Ultimately, however, she finds all of these limitations too constraining and finally strikes out on her own in search of true spiritual and sexual freedom.

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UK518 Rainbow, The DVD (1989/Ken Russell) ***Region 2 DVD.*** Will only play on computers or multi-region DVD players. Not made for playback on North American DVD players. $19.99