The Virgin And The Gypsy

  • 1970
  • Movie
  • R
  • Drama

This adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's posthumously published novella does a better job of addressing its theme--sexual repression in strait-laced society--than most film renditions of the writer's work have managed to do. Unlike Ken Russell's WOMEN IN LOVE, which offered symbolic representations the inner awakening of its characters, THE VIRGIN AND THE GYPSY...read more

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This adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's posthumously published novella does a better job of addressing its theme--sexual repression in strait-laced society--than most film renditions of the writer's work have managed to do. Unlike Ken Russell's WOMEN IN LOVE, which offered symbolic

representations the inner awakening of its characters, THE VIRGIN AND THE GYPSY opts for a more literal intrepretation of Lawrence's work. Regrettably, the literary conventions of Lawrence's era don't always transfer well to the modern cinema. However, director Miles (brother of actress Sarah

Miles), guiding his first feature film, has done an excellent job of conveying the sense of entrapment felt by a young woman in 1920s England. Shimkus plays a young graduate of a provincial French school who returns home to Northern England, along with her sister, Harper, to the house lorded over

by their strict father, Denham, and spinster aunt, Walsh. This inhibiting home environment is contrasted with the freedom of a gypsy camp where Shimkus meets Nero. Her encounters with Nero evoke deep sexual feelings in Shimkus, which she later discusses with Blackman and Burns, an unmarried

couple, the object of the town's derision because of their "immoral ways." When a damn breaks, Shimkus' grandmother is killed in the resulting flood, but the young woman is saved by gypsy Nero, who then introduces Shimkus to sex. The rising-water metaphor might have been handled in a more

sophisticated manner, but Miles' insistence on remaining faithful to his source didn't allow him to see where changes might have helped the development of the film. The picture is extremely well cast. Actress Margaret Rutherford was originally signed to play Compton's role as the feisty old

grandmother, but Rutherford's increasing senility prevented her from learning her lines. Songs include "Keep Your Hand on Your Halfpenny" (Alex Glasgow), "My Latest Millionaire" (Ronald Cass), "The Charleston Hop" (Peter Myers).

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  • Rating: R
  • Review: This adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's posthumously published novella does a better job of addressing its theme--sexual repression in strait-laced society--than most film renditions of the writer's work have managed to do. Unlike Ken Russell's WOMEN IN LOVE, w… (more)

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