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Priest of Love (The Life Of D. H. Lawrence) [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Ian McKellen, Janet Suzman, Ava Gardner, Penelope Keith, Jorge Rivero
  • Directors: Christopher Miles
  • Writers: Alan Plater, Harry T. Moore
  • Producers: Christopher Miles, Andrew Donally
  • Format: NTSC, Color
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: HBO Cannon Video
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CJRW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #603,589 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Bio-pic about D. H. Lawrence and his wife Frieda (née Von Richthofen). Directed by Christopher Miles Starring Ian McKellan & Janet Suzman

Customer Reviews

His is an artistic temperament.
Paolillo
As his wife Freida, Janet Suzman bristles with wit and spit and vinegar, but also the fierce love that makes her performance the heart of the film.
Linda M. Backman
Other than a powerful cast this movie was boring and felt distant with all of the characters.
Angelo M. Faccio

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Paolillo on June 24, 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
A Flawed Masterpiece Ruined
I have loved this movie since it came out and each year have viewed it at least once. At just over two hours, it was well paced, had towering performances- Janet Suzman is magnetic and Ian McKellan quite fine. Now, in its latest incarnation at 99 minutes it is a travesty. It is the 'Director's Cut' of the film and he excised the humanity of the time, the locations, and the people right out of it. Now there is no texture, no atmoshere, no feeling. It is like a Readers Digest version of a very good film. WHAT WAS HE THINKING???
D. H. Lawrence did not bow to public opinion. In his explanation for the cuts, Mr.
Miles said he took out an early scene between Suzman and McKellan because it is hard for an audience to be interested in a man fighting with his wife. Not so. We are shocked by Lawrence's behavior but we stay with it. His is an artistic temperament. And Frieda is no shrinking violet. She is a fighter herself. Sometimes when two people are so evenly matched, there will be fireworks. And the fireworks throughout most of this film have been eliminated. What was a thought provoking screenplay about love and literature and the people who make both has turned into a rather turgid love story.
Among the other items missing was a terrific epilogue that was bittersweet and funny and uplifting. Gone. Mr. Miles has missed all the things that made his original film so memorable. I only have a sad VHS copy and was so very looking forward to a new release of this wonderful film. My disappointment is enormous.
Further, the melodious music which did a beautiful job underscoring the action is now completely overpowering- alienating the audience whereas before it supported the actors.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Linda M. Backman on January 15, 2009
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This 1981 production features Ian McKellen in his first leading role in a film. Fans will not want to miss his bold but detailed characterization of D. H. Lawrence, played here as volatile, quirky, charismatic, and very difficult to live with. As his wife Freida, Janet Suzman bristles with wit and spit and vinegar, but also the fierce love that makes her performance the heart of the film. In a low-key supporting role, Penelope Keith turns in perhaps the loveliest performance of the film, as Dorothy Brett, friend of the fiery pair.

There are many other nice turns by actors in smaller roles, but none of them manages to save the film from being less than it might have been, considering the subject matter. The film never quite comes together to tell its tale well. However, it's worth watching for any fans of McKellen, Suzman and Keith.

The only real drawback is the tape itself. I am not familiar with HBO Cannon Videos, but if this is an example of their work, their products should be avoided. The picture quality is extremely poor: blotchy and muddy and murky, as is the sound. It is like a tape made from a TV broadcast, or a tape duped from another tape, rather than like a transfer made from the film itself.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Movieman on October 30, 2005
Format: DVD
Top cast, acting and locales for this story about controversial author and artist D.H. Lawrence. Original screen version has been edited from 125 minutes to 94 minutes which appears to affect the films continuity somewhat at times - otherwise, this is an absorbing story with a good DVD transfer and 5.1 Dolby sound.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robin Simmons VINE VOICE on October 23, 2011
Format: Blu-ray
Ian McKellan made his feature film debut in this sensitive 1981 biographical chronicle of the impassioned, infuriating life of D.H Lawrence. Janet Suzman, Ava Gardner and John Gielgud co-star. The clever, often understated direction of Christopher Miles works exceedingly well in creating an authentic feel of another time and place.

Beautifully photographed, we follow the late writer's life beginning in the summer of 1914, just before the First World War when D.H. married his German wife Frieda and moved to Cornwall, England. The slightly fictionalized life story examines the tumultuous pinnacle of the volatile author's late career as he travels with Frieda to America, Mexico and finally Italy, seeking a quiet place to complete his explosively controversial masterwork, Lady Chatterley's Lover.

Yes, it's an OK movie. Slimmed down and lush-looking, but it's not a full-bodied D.H. Lawrence.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Howard E. Borck on October 20, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
One reviewer warned that too much of the original movie was cut in this release so I wasn't expecting much. Actually I saw the original and can't remember significant scenes which were cut. This DVD is worth it and until recently not available in USA format. Visual excellent, great acting and the story line provides a representative view of the author's life and views on war (thought it was insane losing men to political nonsense), sex (prudish actually....thought masterbation and sex for sex sake a sacrilege to real passion), and the need for monogamy although close relationships with the same sex (not necessarily erotic) very important. The actual scenes show it better.

I recommend Women in Love by Ken Russell and starring Alan Bates as D.H. as a wonderful supplement.

Too bad D.H. died so young with T.B.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Judypetunia on October 19, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
Of course, it's just a movie and an old one at that. I'm been researching Mabel Dodge Luhan and I don't think Ava Gardner did her any favors, except looking considerably more beautiful than Mabel really was. Same for Tony Lujan. Oh well, it's Hollywood. Ian McKellan was excellent as D.H. Lawrence and Janet Suzman was a great Frieda.
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