Rowing With The Wind

  • 1988
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Horror

This English-language Spanish production is a fairly successful examination of the "haunted summer" of 1816 wherein the lives of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, her sister Claire Clairmont, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, and Dr. John Polidori intertwined to produce Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's classic gothic novel Frankenstein. This same material inspired...read more

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This English-language Spanish production is a fairly successful examination of the "haunted summer" of 1816 wherein the lives of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, her sister Claire Clairmont, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, and Dr. John Polidori intertwined to produce Mary Wollstonecraft

Shelley's classic gothic novel Frankenstein. This same material inspired Ken Russell's overheated horror film GOTHIC (1987). ROWING WITH THE WIND opens with a beautifully photographed sequence--accompanied by Ralph Vaughan Williams' haunting "Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis"--in which Mary

Shelley (McInnerny) writes on board a decrepit schooner as it drifts through massive ice floes near the North Pole, the very same setting that marks the climax of Frankenstein. Reminiscing about the events that have brought her to this place, McInnerny flashes back to her courtship with poet Percy

Bysshe Shelley (Pelka) and their elopement to Switzerland where they met Lord Byron (Grant) and his friend Dr. Polidori (Gomez). Accompanied by McInnery's sister Claire (Hurley)--who has had an affair with Grant--the quintet spends the summer at Grant's villa. From here the plot is virtually

identical to that of GOTHIC, highlighting such biographical nuggets as Percy Shelley's inability to swim, Byron's callous bon mots, Polidori's suicide, and the death of the Wollstonecraft-Shelley children. The move from Switzerland to Italy is detailed, as are the events in the years following,

wherein Shelley drowns and Byron dies of disease in Greece during the Greek-Turkish war. While in GOTHIC Russell uses the events to highlight the sexual decadence and debauchery that he imagines took place, director-writer Gonzalo Suarez takes a different, more gothic approach. He shows Mary

Shelley to be haunted by the image of the monster she created in Frankenstein, which she sees lurking whenever a tragedy befalls her family and friends. While all the principals are excellent, Grant steals the movie as the eccentric, unconventional Lord Byron. Although Suarez's screenplay suffers

from literary pretensions that occasionally result in somewhat stilted dialog, his visualization of the material is breathtaking.

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  • Released: 1988
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This English-language Spanish production is a fairly successful examination of the "haunted summer" of 1816 wherein the lives of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, her sister Claire Clairmont, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, and Dr. John Polidori intertwined to… (more)

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