Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 16th, 2015
Theatrical Release Date: UK / France / West Germany, 1981
Director: Just Jaeckin
Writers: Marc Behm, Just Jaeckin, Christopher Wicking
Cast: Sylvia Kristel, Shane Briant, Nicholas Clay, Ann Mitchell, Anthony Head, Bessie Love
BluRay released: February 17th, 2015
Approximate running time: 104 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
BluRay Release: Olive Films
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.98
Synopsis: When an aristocrat is unable to fulfill his wife due to a war time injury that left him paralyzed below the waist and impotent. He offers his wife the chance to seek out other lovers to keep her satisfied. At first the fear of losing her husband has her reluctant to embrace her desires. Then one day she encounters the handsome gamekeeper who works for her husband who injects the desires she has been oppressing.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover was co-written and directed by Just Jaeckin who other notable films include, Emmanuelle, The Story of O and Gwendoline. Key collaborators on Lady Chatterley’s Lover include cinematographer Robert Fraisse (The Lover) and composer Stanley Meyers (The Deer Hunter, The Watcher in the Woods). The screenplay for this film was adapted from D.H. Lawrence novel of the same name.
Film adaptions can be a tricky proposition. With the majority of novels have too much going on in them and trying to capture everything onscreen that occurs in said novel would be futile. Which often leads to films having to films having to make editorial decisions in favor of making a more cinematic experience.
And in the case of Just Jaeckin’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, though the majority of the things that one would want from the book make their way into this film adaption. The end result is far from a definitive adaption of D.H. Lawrence’s novel. With this film’s main issue being the way it dilutes the source material by putting the emphasis on the more exploitative elements of the plot.
Though there is no denying the appeal of the more salacious aspects of this film. It is ultimately its exploration of classism and conflicts that arise when someone goes outside of their social circle, where this film resonates the most.
From a production stand point the film is exquisitely shot and production design / set locations are all first rate. And when it comes to the more erotic moments these can be hit and miss. With the standout moment of erotica being the scene where Lady Chatterley first encounters her future lover Mellors the gamekeeper. She secretly watches him bathing outside of his home. And if there were one area of this film that comes up short that would be this film’s deliberate pacing, which is bound to test most viewers patience.
Performance wise the cast are all more than adequate in their respective roles. With this film strongest performance coming from Ann Mitchell (‘EastEnders’) in the role of Ivy Bolton, she is Sir Clifford Chatterley’s caretaker. Another performance of note is Shane Briant (Straight on Till Morning, Demons of the Mind) in the role of Sir Clifford Chatterley. Then there are this film’s other two key performances Sylvia Kristel (Emmanuelle) in the role of Lady Chatterley and Nicholas Clay (Excalibur) in the role of Mellors. These two performance can be best described as eye candy.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. This transfer does a great job retaining intended soft focus look of this film. Colors and flesh tones look accurate and black levels and contrast levels look consistently good throughout. And though the image generally looks crisp, there are handful of darker moments that lack the same clarity that is present for the bulk of the film. Print debris and other source related damage is minimal and never intrusive. And when it comes to grain it natural and intact. With that being said, there are a few moments where the grain looks very thick. Also there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English. Dialog is always clear, everything sounds balanced and the film’s score sounds appropriately robust.
This release comes with no extra content. Overall Lady Chatterley’s Lover gets a strong audio / video presentation from Olive Films.
Note: Olive Films are also releasing this film on DVD.