"D.H. Lawrence's play by the same name was not widely received nor did he even see it when it was first dramatised, and this is unfortunate because he seems to have understood the suffering of women in the confines of marriage-a theme in much of his work. Set in a mining town, Zoe Wanamaker plays the lonely and miserable wife of a violent, alcoholic brute played by Colin Firth. Unfortunately, this films' title is absolute poison--it basically ends the story before it begins. The audience has to at least believe that this unhappy woman might have a chance to begin life with a man who will love and respect her-a man, played by Stephen Dillane, who gives her this opportunity. This drama, though well-acted, did not transfer well to this production and needed a lot more character intimacy to keep it from playing all one note. On the other hand, another D.H. Lawrence story "The Rainbow," is an incredible, three-part "bonus feature" included on side two of this disc. Why "The Rainbow" is not sold on it's own is unusual because this is the more developed production. It was initially banned by the government because of it's sexual themes, but is more about the spiritual frustration of Ursula, played by Imogen Stubbs. She's a very brave actress considering some of the content in this film but she captures the characters' eccentricity who feels imprisoned by an unemotional and heartless society. She wants complete freedom but also to be loved-two ideals that cannot exist together. All things considered I was disapppointed with "The Widowing" but "The Rainbow" was an unexpected pleasure."
The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd and the talent of Zoe Wanamaker
Zoe/Judi Fan-addict | 08/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A wonderfully portrayed D.H.Lawrence play with some biographical overtones. This play reflects on Lawrence's early insites living in a mining family with a boorish father drinking, fighting and being an overall sad brute making his way through life with an overworked, strong and underloved woman at her witt's end in the relationship. If you've never seen Ms. Zoe Wanamaker perform(Madam Hooch in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone), you're in for a treat. She works this character's nuances so precisely and sensually, you'll want to know more. The talented Colin Firth---recently in Mamma Mia--- plays her husband. The actor playing Mr. Blackmore is a wonderful addition to this triad of lives interwoven in this drama. The Rainbow, with Imogen Stubbs, is not my "cup of tea" as stories go but a story of a young woman's sexual realizations. For a truly wonderful Shakesperean performance by Ms Zoe Wanamaker and Ms Stubbs view Othello the BBC production with Zoe as Iago's wife Emma and Imogen as Desdemona. Zoe's performance is fabulous!!!!"
Good feature but CHECK OUT THE EXTRAS
Harold Wolf | Wells, IN United States | 12/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The 87 minute feature of "The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd" is a heavy drama, well acted, strong in character use, and what the BBC has become masterful at making. Lizzie Holroyd is played by Zoe Wanamaker who hates her lot in life, mainly putting up with her drinking, pit working, womanizing, husband Charles. Colin Firth is Charles, and today a very well-known actor. Firth usually now plays the nice guy rather than this character type. Not may laughs, but a good indication of life around the pits of industrial England long ago. The story reminds me of the 15 outstanding (5-star) Catherine Cookson books put into film.
Now for the even better part: (4 1/2 stars) for the Bonus Program. It is a full length, three hour, 3-part story of Ursula Brangwen. The title is "The Rainbow" and is all about Ursula, born to be loved, and her strong desire to possess love. As Ursula states, she "must be swept off her feet" and will let anyone have her for that. Imogene Stubbs plays Ursula looking for love in all places. She seeks it from memories of a drown Grandfather, her father (since mother's love is nothing), a gardener, a military man, a woman, & students in her classroom. You will spend the entire 3 hours hoping Ursula will find that true love. And you will enjoy her journey.
This period movie, early 20th century industrial England again, is unrated but expect ample nudity with Ursula's frolics with the soldier on the beach and bed scenes with her female lover. There is much more beautiful story than naked sex, and this movie makes this DVD a bargain price. The characters of both stories have some heavy dialect so the SUBTITLES ON BOTH FILMS HELP THE FOLLOWING OF THE DIALOGUE.
In 1915 when D. H. Lawrence wrote "The Rainbow" it was tried and found obscene, banned and burned, but if released today would probably become a top-ten bestseller."
She Wanted Him Dead
R. Crane | Washington, DC United States | 10/13/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Have you ever been so angry with someone that you wished them dead? Well, Mrs. Holroyd did. She was furious with her husband for many things: his unceasing womanizing (even bringing prostitutes to their home); his abusive and foul treatment of her and the children; his selfishness and coarseness. She thought she could no longer face a bleak future of more of the same.
Now Mrs. Holroyd had an admirer, a young electrician who appeared to be besotted with her and willing to do almost anything to woo her. He offered her an alternative: take the children and flee with him to Europe by boat and start a new and happier life.
In the wake of her husband's drunken behavior and passing out, the offer became more and more appealing. With the electrician whispering in her ear while she tried to tend to her unconscious husband, she finds herself wondering about how much better her life would be without him and the idea of plotting his murder with the electrician becomes more and more plausible and the answer to her prayers.
And then her husband is found dead. Mrs. Holroyd is plagued with guilt and has a sort of nervous breakdown while preparing his body for the funeral. She believes her wishing him dead led to his death.
This is a BBC production, and though the acting is good, this is not up to the usual BBC standards. The action never leaves the main room of Mrs. Holroyd's seedy house. You have to imagine the scenes at the pub or mine. Zoe Wanamaker and the others are good actors, but this movie moves so slowly you could fall asleep from boredom. It is a very unimaginative production. There was a reason that this D.H. Lawrence play was not received well: it did not deserve critical acclaim. Neither does this production. Not recommended. "
The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd
Patricia L. Schwatka | 06/21/2010
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Sorry folks, I LOVE Colin Firth, but this was one of the worst storylines I've ever seen him in... Quite depressing, actually... (sorry)"