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Lady Chatterley's Lover
/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 100 mins . R . PAL


It's been years since I read it, but I seem to remember that D H Lawrence intended, with Lady Chatterley's Lover, to liberate the English language.

He used four-letter words that had previously been rarely seen in print outside of very expensive privately-circulated pornography. And he used the old Anglo-Saxon words that used to have a huge taboo effect -- so distorted had their usage become that they had become swear-words only, divorced from their actual meaning.

I think old D H Lawrence would have hated this movie. The language has been sanitised -- the groundbreaking use of 'fuck' and 'cunt' in their proper sexual context has disappeared, and been replaced instead by beautifully air-brushed artistic nudity, punctuated by energetic bouts of simulated sex.

Lady Chatterley is played by an actress I've not seen before, Ms Sylvie Kristel, who has a strangely blancmange-like body of indeterminate shape -- though she does boast splendidly upjutting breasts. I think those are her claim to acting fame -- there's not much else showing in the way of talent.

Nicholas Clay, as the gamekeeper Mellors who keeps Lady Chatterley happy after her hubby has been crippled, makes a pretty decent fist of it. He acts with a reasonable amount of conviction and is one of the the only members of the cast to do so.

Shane Briant's Lord Chatterley seemed weak even before the War injury which crippled him. However, his nurse, physical trainer and substitute-lover Mrs Bolton is played with admirable sinister subtlety by Ann Mitchell. She's wasted here.

The entire effort seems to be a pale, watered-down Merchant Ivory effort. Very beautiful soft-core mild erotica if you like this sort of thing, but none of the nitty-gritty realism and shock of the original. It's paced as if we're at a funeral procession; the director's name, Just Jaeckin, is totally appropriate.


Excellent transfer in anamorphic widescreen - the image is very soft, but that seems deliberate, with probably two or three jars of vaseline smeared across the lens every day.

Sound is basic stereo, somewhat indistinct at times but without distortion. The only extras are three trailers - a non-anamorphic widescreen trailer for I Dream of Africa, a fullscreen trailer for End of the Affair and a non-anamorphic widescreen peek at Luc Besson's The Messenger, Joan of Arc starring his former wife, Milla Jovovich. She looks very lovely, but is no match for the best Joan of Arc on film, Maria Falconetti.

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  •   And I quote...
    "Lovers of air-brushed 'artistic' nudity will want this movie. Lovers of D H Lawrence's novel will give it the big flick."
    - Anthony Clarke
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