Film: 5552

Personalities | 1980 | Sound | Colour


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A dramatised documentary about D.H. Lawrence. Sam Dale plays D.H. Lawrence.
Silhouette of two people walking on a rolling hill on the distant horizon. Man with beard sits up right coughing. A church bell can be heard. Man turns his head. Hand pointing. Man in bed. Three people visit bed side. Close up of bearded man's eye. Slow motion shot of pick axe being used on coal face in a coal mine. "My father was a collier". Man dressed as miner from the early 20th century walking along street (long overcoat, beard, dirty face). "My mother was superior". Shot of woman near fire place. Same woman washing a boy's neck. "I was born hating my father". Woman playing piano by candle light. D.H. Lawrence's signature. Girl sitting on ledge in a house: Jessie. A young man on a rope swing. He entices girl to go on swing, pushes her higher, she gets scared. "In 1901 my brother, Ernest, died of pneumonia". Woman with gas lamp behind curtain. Men carrying coffin. Lamp swinging from ceiling. Church bell rings in distance. Coffin in house. Mother strokes coffin. "Three months later I suffer from a very serious pneumonia illness". Close up of eye. Two men in horse drawn cart approaching camera along muddy road in winter. People stacking hay / straw. Woman reciting from a book while on stage lit by candles. Young man and woman bicycling along country path. Woman reading to man by trees. Man and woman carrying lamps and reading. Man cycling on 'sit-up and beg' bicycle. "College disappointed me painfully. I doubted my professors". Girl reading while walking down country path. Sand dunes, woman runs over them while putting on hat. She speaks to Lawrence who, in turn, speaks to his mother. The three walking along sandy beach. Lawrence in a dark room talking to his mother about Jessie while drinking milk. She is clearly jealous of Jessie. He tries to reassure her stating, "I really don't love her mother ". He kisses her and places his hand on her shoulder. Man chopping wood. Naked woman in front of fire. Man removes shirt, sex. Man's hand caressing his own skin. Men and women piling up straw in a barn. Man firing shot gun. Close up of wood fire burning. Lawrence and Jessie drinking in the orange light of a lantern. They talk about how few friends Jessie has. Lawrence is appointed master at Davidson Rooms, Croydon. End of Part One.
Part Two: Early archive footage of London: Westminster Bridge, Parliament in background; Tower Bridge with large horse drawn wagons crossing; black men playing musical instruments and dancing in street. 1908: Lawrence is 23 years of age and he is in London. Stills of Croydon, Surrey around 1908. Lawrence's voice over describes his landlords in Croydon as "Exceedingly nice people". Shot of a stern looking family in living room of family house. Still of the school in which he taught. Man in otherwise empty school hall. "School is conflict". Landlord and landlady dancing to music on the radio. Lawrence holding baby. Lawrence painting. Fireworks, bonfire, sparklers. "I shall try writing again". Still of Jessie, who sends Lawrence's poems to 'Literary Review'. They are published. Man and woman talking in field discussing 'The White Peacock'. Stills of D.H. Lawrence. Mother is dying. Mother asleep in bed. Lawrence at bedside. Father is dismissed by Lawrence when he offers to stay and care for his wife. Lawrence enters room with candle. He kisses mother, she is dead, he breaks down. Coffin being lowered into grave. Mourners congregate around grave and leave. Lawrence left alone with umbrella. Countryside from moving steam train, same train entering tunnel. Lawrence watching Melies Film. Lawrence writing in bed with blanket around his shoulders. Expressionistic view of Lawrence's insanity. November 1911: Lawrence collapses. Lawrence in bed. A nurse crocheting at bedside. Nurse giving Lawrence medicine. Lawrence being pushed in wheel chair by the sea. The sea from high cliffs. Jessie and Lawrence on country path (he's returned to Midlands). The end of Jessie and Lawrence's friendship after 'Son's and Lovers'. Horse drawn carriage containing both Lawrence and Jessie. Lawrence gets out of carriage and raises hat to bid farewell to Jessie - they never see each other again. Still of Frieda, wife of Lawrence's former tutor at Nottingham University College. He falls for her. Steam train. May 3rd 1912, Lawrence and Freida elope to Metz, Germany. Shot comparing father with son. Stills of miners and working class people. Cobbled streets. "One can belong absolutely to no class". "Cannot make the transfer from my class into the middle class". Images of people who were close to Lawrence spinning. A naked foot being touched by a woman's hand. March 2nd 1930: D.H. Lawrence dies of tuberculosis.

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