Lady Chatterley's Lover ranks up there as one of the most erotic films about true romantic love ever made. Nicholas Clay as Mellors and the stunning Sylvia Kristel as Connie are perfectly matched in this highly charged love story of a woman, whose bourgeois, aristocratic, whiny, insufferable and sadistic husband becomes paralyzed after serving in WWI (even after that it's still impossible to find sympathy for this stuffy clod who is stupid enough to tell his wife to "go find a lover" and subsequently pushes her away emotionally and who is verbally abusive to her as well). Connie winds up finding lust and love with the estate's gamekeeper, played brilliantly by the late Nicholas Clay (tragically, he died of cancer in 2000 at the young age of 53). Clay was arguably one of the most exquisite men to ever grace the silver screen and reveals all to us in this movie (and I am so grateful he does because everything he has is shockingly gorgeous - I rented this movie and after seeing the first scene with him in it I think I cleared the couch in one leap to get to my PC to buy this movie from Amazon). Well-acted with an intense intimacy that most of us will never experience because we are too frightened of it, we are able to feel it all here and drink it in with reckless abandon and without being afraid. Wonderful, lush 1920s period costuming and bucolic English countryside with a Vaughn Williams-esque music score draw you into the story of these lovers, and left me wanting more. From their first spontaneous, lustful encounter (I think my legs actually went numb when I first watched it) to their eventual "courtship," I was engrossed. This story gives me hope that real love between two people, no matter their background or socioeconomic status, does truly exist.
Connie changes because of her interaction with Mellors, and so finds true intimacy with an at first unlikely partner, and the superficial things that once seemed important to her melt away and no longer matter. She discovers who she is through her relationship with him, whereas Mellors already knows who he is. She can truly be herself around Mellors, so it is not surprising that he is a much better match for her than her rich, prissy husband. Mellors is the representation of what I consider to be an example of true masculinity: Clay's remarkable portrayal shows the unbearable pain of falling in love with someone who can only partially commit; he is physically strong and powerful, but shows remorse and disgust after being forced by Connie's husband to beat up poachers he caught on the grounds. He goes from cradling a baby chick in his hands to comforting her to decorating her hair with flowers, to making wild passionate love to her inside the secluded work shed, or in the woods against a tree out of sight from the main house. The searing contrast of Clay and Kristel's fully clothed and writhing bodies on the dirty floor of the work shed as they are overcome with lust and passion for each other will be forever burned in my mind. The only distraction in the film is the dubbing - every piece of dialouge was dubbed, so just be ready for it. It is a certainty that Clay was underrated as an actor, and it would have been nice to see him in more leading roles over the years, but I am grateful that he will be forever immortalized in the great film work he did accomplish, such as in this film, Evil Under The Sun, Lovespell, and Excalibur. I highly recommend them all.