Review of Sons And Lovers
Paul Morel is determined not to work down the mines. He loves to paint and would like a scholarship. Instead he starts work at a corsetry factory. His life is complicated by his relationship with Miriam, (Heather Sears) a local farm girl and his intense relationship with his mother (Wendy Hiller). His father (Trevor Howard) is a hard drinking miner who is worn down by his wife`s disappointment with him.
A raft of stars appear in this film and it received several Oscar nominations including Best Motion Picture, Best Actor (Trevor Howard),Supporting Actress(Mary Ure), Best Director, Adapted Screenplay and Art Direction. Freddie Francis won the Oscar for cinematography.
A good clear picture despite its age and the black and white is entirely suitable for its subject matter placing this as a long-time gone.
Jack Cardiff was also a cameraman and used the famous Freddie Francis for this one. They obviously had considerable fun using the locations and emotion setting up the scenes. It simply looks beautiful and is never overdone.
Look out for the seaside scene late in the film. It`s definitely filmed in Weston-super-Mare with fine views of the pier, seafront and wide beach unspoilt by sea. It`s presumably supposed to be somewhere closer to Nottingham but Weston managed to retain its Victorian features longer than some. It does feature some back projection and judging by how the shots are set up it could have been a second unit.
Music is by Mario Nascimbene and is never intrusive to the scenes. It injects mood into many linking non dialogue moments in that good old fashioned Hollywood way.
The script is mostly D. H Lawrence with some help from Gavin Lambert who`s better known for novels than his screenplays. T.E.B. Clarke co-wrote; his screen credits include The Titfield Thunderbolt, Passport to Pimlico and The Lavender Hill Mob.
Interview with Jack Cardiff
This is a recent interview and he goes into some details regarding the production with more background detail than many directors` commentaries. It`s a great addition to a fairly basic release.
There`s also a photo gallery and a trailer which makes refernce to the lurid companion novel Lady Chatterley`s Lover.
I was prepared not to like his film because it seemed so worthy. How wrong I was. This is a classic film in every sense with moving performances and the silent scenery recording the passing of an era. Even more poignant is that it was filmed in DH Lawrence country where mining was the only way of life unless you could educate your way out of the pit. The countryside is even more silent now as the mines have been replaced by call centres and shopping malls but who now would choose to go down the pit if offered a choice.
Occasionally over-pretentious dialogue is all pure Lawrence and although it may seem odd to us now, the book was written between 1910 and 1912 so the content is pretty surprising with its Oedipal theme alongside frank sexual references. Given that lady Chatterley`s Lover was still banned when this film was made it probably had people flocking to the cinema hoping for porn!
This is an intense film which deals with subjects that were difficult even in the 1960`s. I recommend it and try to forget it`s probably on the National Curriculum; it doesn`t make it bad!