Blu-ray Review: Lady Chatterley’s Lover



Once upon a time in the ’80s, Cinemax wasn’t merely HBO’s junk drawer. It had its own identity thanks a late night programming block called it “Cinemax After Dark.” Loyal viewers renamed it “Skinamax.” The movies selected for the slot featured plenty of erotic movies tshot in Europe to give a sophisticated edge to the carnality. Sylvia Kristel proved to be one of the queens of the Skinamax with her consistent portrayal of a good wife lured to abandoning her restrained ways and surrender to her curious libido. The Dutch beauty was introduced to the world in Emmanuelle. The hard R-rated film based on a bestselling erotic novel. Lady Chatterley’s Lover is one of the most scandalous classic novel of all time. The novel was the 50 Shade of Grey of 1928. Now Sylvia Kristel would get to be another woman who went beyond the normal wife life in 1981’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

Lady Chatterley (Kristel) has it all in her life. She’s married to the handsome and upperclass Clifford Chatterley (Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell‘s Shane Briant). They live on a vast country estate. Trouble shoots into the marriage when Clifford gets paralyzed during World War I. As much as she enjoys being around her husband, his lack of ability in the bedroom gets to be too much for her. She’s got needs, but can she really get them met? Will she end up going nuts? Distance grows between herself and her husband. There can only be one solution: she needs a lover who can see to her physical desires. Her husband has no problem with her going off for a bit of fun. Instead of hooking up with one of her husband’s posh guys, she dares to take a step down to enjoy the raw nature of their gamekeeper (Nicholas Clay). Lady Chatterley thinks she can keep her gamekeeper on the side and remain a good wife. But can she really keep her heart from following her lust? What will people think if her arrangement gets exposed. The scandals are ready to explode all over the countryside.

The film reunited Sylvia with Just Jaeckin, the director of Emmanuelle. Jaeckin had made The Story of O (the original 50 Shades of Grey) without her. The director and his leading lady do a find job of bringing a classy feel to the screen without losing the raw libidinous core of the forbidden relationship. It’s like a dirty Downton Abbey. This was what people watched before Game of Thrones. Sylvia is fine in the role although her voice is dubbed in the film. This is a plus since they chose a voice that suits that character.

Strangely enough, the movie was not a massive hit at the boxoffice. The theater crowds weren’t rushing out on Valentine’s Day with their date to enjoy the naughty novel T THE cinema. Perhaps Lady Chatterley’s Lover could have done better in a social media world that hypes film with addicting hashtgs. Perhaps #NotMyGamekeeper would have gotten more butts in the seat to watch Lady Chatterley and her lover’s butts on the screen. The film wasn’t a complete failure. Lady Chatterley’s Lover has had a good following over the decades thanks to being a hit on Cinemax After Dark.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfer brings out the lush European locations. Sylvia has the proper glow on the screen as she releases herself from being a repressed wife. The audio is DTS-HD Mono. The mix is good enough that the dubbed actors don’t stick out so much.

No bonus features.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover brings back the glory of Cinemax After Dark. Although the Blu-ray has much better resolution than those airings provided. Sylvia Kristel rules the screen as the devoted wife who wants more.

Olive Films presents Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Directed by: Just Jaeckin. Written by: Marc Behm, Just Jaeckin & Christopher Wicking. Starring: Sylvia Kristel, Shane Briant, Nicholas Clay and Ann Mitchell. Running Time: 105 minutes. Rated: R. Released: February 17, 2015.

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