The Rainbow (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ken Russell|
|Produced by||Dan Ireland
William J. Quigley
|Written by||D. H. Lawrence
|Music by||Carl Davis|
|Edited by||Peter Davies|
The Rainbow is a 1989 British drama film directed by Ken Russell. The story, adapted from the D. H. Lawrence novel of the same name, is a prequel to Lawrence's Women in Love, which was also made into an homonymous film by Russell in 1969.
Sammi Davis stars as Ursula, a sheltered young pupil, then schoolteacher, who's taken under the wing (sexually and otherwise) by the more sophisticated Winifred (Amanda Donohoe). Glenda Jackson appears as the mother of the character she played in Women in Love.
Set during the final years of England's Victorian era, Ursula Brangwen is one of several children of wealthy Yorkshire farmer Will Brangwen and his wife Anna. Ursula, since age 3, has a fascination with rainbows and after one rainstorm, she runs off with a suitcase hoping to look for a pot of gold at the end of it. Will tries to ease her fascination by giving her coloring books of rainbows and making her peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with several spreads of different flavored jelly resembling a rainbow.
During her teenage years, Ursula falls into a same sex romance with her older swimming and gym teacher Winifred Inger, while at the same time, Ursula also begins having romantic feelings for Anton Skrebensky, a student at the nearby boys high school who plans to enlist in the Army after graduation. Ursula brings along Winifred as her chaperone when she visits her father's older brother, Uncle Henry, who becomes smitten with Winifred and, after a short courtship, proposes marriage to her. Winifred accepts which creates jealousy in Ursula.
Feeling abandoned and alone after Winifred leaves her and Anton goes off to fight in the Second Boer War in South Africa, Ursula decides to re-start her life by becoming a school teacher. After graduation from high school, Ursula moves to London where she takes a job as a schoolmarm at a poor elementary school in the East End where she becomes quickly appalled by the lack of discipline and hygiene among the impoverished children she is forced to teach (many of whom are illiterate child laborers). She also fends off sexual advances by the lecherous headmaster of the school, who uses physical discipline to settle unruly students. Ursula initially refuses to go to that level of physical punishment for her class. But after being provoked a few too many times by one belligerent boy who uses a slingshot to pelt her with small stones, Ursula finally loses her temper and violently beats the child with a cane in full view of the class and school staff. While her violent outburst actually works to pacify her students, and makes the headmaster not to make anymore inappropriate passes at her, Ursula is guilt-ridden by her own actions and as a result, she quits her job when the school year ends.
Returning to her family farm a year-and-a-half later, Ursula is reunited with Anton who is back from war and wants to rekindle a romance with her. After having a casual reunion with Winifred, who is now married to Uncle Henry and now has a baby, Ursula decides to consummate her romance with Anton. At the same time, Ursula also begins working with a local miners union to help out unprivileged workers with salary and securities. When she learns that she may be pregnant, Anton proposes marriage to her, but she turns him down, wanting to follow her own life.
After Anton leaves her for good, Ursula is attacked while walking home alone by two mine workers who attempt to rape her, but she escapes and spends the day and night hiding out in a rain-soaked forest but makes it back to her farm. After being examined by a local doctor, who tells her that she was never pregnant in the first place, Ursula is left all by herself. After a heartfelt talk with her father about life and what path it leads in life, Ursula decides to start all over again. In the final scene, Ursula packs a suitcase and runs out of her house to chase another large rainbow that appears after a storm, just like her younger self used to.
- Sammi Davis as Ursula Brangwen
- Paul McGann as Anton Skrebensky
- Amanda Donohoe as Winifred Inger
- Christopher Gable as Will Brangwen
- David Hemmings as Uncle Henry
- Glenda Jackson as Anna Brangwen
- Dudley Sutton as MacAllister
- Jim Carter as Mr. Harby
- Judith Paris as Miss Harby
- Kenneth Colley as Mr. Brunt
- Glenda McKay as Gudrun Brangwen
- Mark Owen as Jim Richards
- Ralph Nossek as Vicar
- Nicola Stephenson as Ethel
- Molly Russell as Molly Brangwen
- Alan Edmondson as Billy Brangwen
- Rupert Russell as Rupert Brangwen
- Richard Platt as Chauffeur
- Bernard Latham as Uncle Alfred
- John Tams as Uncle Frank
- Zoe Brown as Ursula (aged 3)
- Amy Evans as Baby Gudrun
- Sam McMullen as Winifred's Baby