High in the running for the year's dumbest art movie, opening on a shot of burning books, this launches into the life story of DH Lawrence with all the naive lyricism of an early Ken Russell biopic. Suzman struggles to toughen up the role of Frieda, but succumbs to the script early on when required to describe sex as 'the only way to reach the soul of man'. McKellen has the 'look of genius' in his eyes, the twang of Nottingham in his speech, and TB in his lungs. On the interminable route to his deathbed, Lawrence experiences lurid sunsets and a generous helping of flashbacks, and sees his manuscripts blown away in the wind so often you wonder how he ever published a single word. Directed like the most twee of travelogues, it's not worth staying with even for the closing moment of sublime silliness when the remains of the dead novelist return to New Mexico in a terracotta chicken brick. Desperate ... although subsequent re-editing down to a 99- minute version did help slightly.
Cast and crew
Ian McKellen Janet Suzman Ava Gardner Penelope Keith Jorge Rivero Maurizio Merli John Gielgud James Faulkner Sarah Miles