D H Lawrence and the psychedelic Fox

D H Lawrence’s novella was filmed in 1967 and the artwork for the resulting poster is inspired. I believe it’s the work of Leo and Diane Dillon. (The taglines are however ridiculous…)

The film version updates the setting from 1918 to contemporary 1960s Canada, with some beautiful cinematography of the snowbound landscape and its wintry light and shadow.

Released not long after the code of production came to an end, The Fox was undermined by the reviewers’ focus on the relationship of the two women, which is unbalanced when the grandson of the farm’s former owner returns. Yet contemporary critic Roger Ebert saw it as “filmed with quiet taste and an intuitive knowledge of human nature… Indeed, it is the natural ease of the film that is so appealing… The delicately constructed atmosphere of cold and snow, of early sunsets and chill lingering in the corners, establishes the tone”.

The film has its flaws and is of its time – there are transgression-must-be-punished issues and the independent, strong-willed character March loses her spirit to conformity. But it’s an interesting effort and has a mournfully mellifluous soundtrack by Lalo Schifrin too.

There is an excerpt from Doris Lessing’s introduction to a reprint of Lawrence’s story here  (beware spoilers). Interestingly, even The Guardian has to call it a ‘smouldering’ story, so times don’t really change…

One comment

  1. dianajhale · May 18, 2012

    Classic art nouveau revival poster! I don’t remember this at all and actually I haven’t read the story either – now might be a good time as I am very fond of D H Lawrence. The Plumed Serpent was my favourite when younger. I had an obsession with South/Latin America – Aztecs, Incas etc.

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