Lady Chatterley's Lover (1981)

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Released 23-Feb-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Trailer-End Of The Affair, I Dreamed Of Africa
Trailer-The Messenger, Joan Of Arc
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1981
Running Time 100:10
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Just Jaeckin
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Sylvia Kristel
Shane Briant
Nicholas Clay
Ann Mitchell
Elizabeth Spriggs
Pascale Rivault
Peter Bennett
Anthony Head
Frank Moorey
Bessie Love
John Tynan
Michael Huston
Fran Hunter
Case ?
RPI $9.95 Music Richard Harvey
Stanley Myers


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
German
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Danish
Finnish
Greek
Hindi
Norwegian
Portuguese
Swedish
Turkish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Lady Chatterley's Lover is based on the novel by David Herbert (DH) Lawrence, first published in 1928. Because of the book's intimate details of lovemaking (by 1920's standards), it was actually banned in England and the US until the late 1950s. This film adaptation, from 1981, stars Emmanuelle girl Sylvia Kristel, and seems to focus on the sex rather than any of Lawrence's other messages in his original novel, if indeed there were any...

    The story basically focuses on a young and beautiful woman, Lady Constance Chatterley, who's married to a wealthy older member of the landed gentry, Sir Clifford Chatterley (played by Shane Briant). The couple seem to be happy and very much in love. However, when war breaks out between England and Germany (World War I), Sir Clifford is called away to do his duty. He returns home wheelchair-bound and unable to 'fulfil' his wife's nocturnal desires.

    The story then focuses primarily on Lady Constance's internal battle between her own sexual frustrations and her loyalty to her husband. This is brought to the fore when she encounters the strapping huntsman/gamekeeper Oliver (played, often nudely, by Nicholas Clay). This man, an employee of Sir Clifford, lives in a remote corner of their vast property and Lady Constance finds herself inextricably drawn towards him and soon they find themselves as lovers.

    In the meantime, Sir Clifford, recognising that he cannot fulfil his wife's every desire, actually asks her to find herself a lover, not realising that she's already been proactive in that endeavour.

    The film is directed by Just Jaeckin, a French director mainly remembered for his 1970s 'soft porn' films such as Emmanuelle and The Story of O. I can never remember if these films were classified as soft-porn because they were relatively tame in their subject matter or because of the obvious soft filter used throughout most of the films!

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer on this disc is presented in its original theatrical ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The overall picture is a little soft, though I think this is inherent in the original film and not a fault in the transfer to DVD.

    Shadow detail is good throughout the film, especially considering the age and relatively low budget of the original film. It's good that there is adequate shadow detail, as much of the film takes place in dimly lit interiors.

    The colour palette used in the film is quite rich and this has been transferred well on this DVD. It is rich without ever being oversaturated, even in potentially difficult scenes such as the bright red hunting jackets at 1:46.

    There were no noticeable MPEG artefacts.

    A few visible positive and negative film artefacts were present, though they were  never too large or too clustered.

    There are subtitles available in a number of languages. I sampled the English track and found it quite accurate to the spoken word.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    This transfer presents the film with its original mono soundtrack. There are also mono soundtracks available in German and Italian. The English and Italian soundtracks have a full, rich sound to them whilst the German soundtrack has a somewhat 'hollow' or shallow sound to it.

    Dialogue is clear at all times with no issues with lip sync, even on Sylvia Kristel's dubbed voice.

    The music, by Richard Harvey and Stanley Myers, seemed to suit the onscreen drama quite well. A pipe organ was used in parts to help support the action when required.

    As this film is in mono, the rear surround speakers, and for that matter the left and right fronts, had nothing to do.

    The subwoofer was called in to support some deep sounds such as the explosions at 5:57, though obviously not via a dedicated LFE channel.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The extras on this disc comprise 3 trailers for other DVD releases.

    1. End of the Affair (runtime 1:39). Presented in 4:3 fullscreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.

    2. I Dreamed of Africa (1:45). Presented in 1.85:1 letterboxed, with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.

    3. The Messenger - Joan of Arc (2:30). Presented in 1.85:1 letterboxed, with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This film doesn't appear to have been released in R1 as yet. The R2 release appears to be identical, though I'm not sure if it includes the trailers. The R4 version would seem to be the best choice.

Summary

    Well you didn't really read this review to find out whether this film adaptation exposes the subtle nuances of DH Lawrence's original novel, did you? Yes, it does expose quite a bit...of the 2 lead actors in many scenes that wouldn't have troubled the wardrobe department... But what else could one expect from the combination of Sylvia Kristel and director Just Jaeckin? Ms Kristel does look rather lovely, though her acting is not exactly what she'd be remembered for. Some of the restrained acting by the other 2 leads is not too bad at times, and the overall 'look' and pacing of the film actually makes it reasonably palatable fare. Do overlook the occasional appalling dialogue, though.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Satish Rajah (don't read my bio!)
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-344 Multi-Region, using Component output
DisplaySony KV-XA34M31 80cm. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2801
SpeakersMain: Mission 753; Centre: Mission m7c2; rear: Mission 77DS; Sub: JBL PB10

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