Lady Chatterly’s Lover, when it was first published was considered to be a novel seething with sexual taboos and consequently most people only read the pages to do with sex.
Not so, Lady Chatterly’s Lover slices through the class divide, showing the hearts and minds of the characters and celebrating sexual passion through a union involving all the senses and celebrating nature and life itself.
In Nottingham, where the girls were in a 5 to 1 ratio with the boys, the onus was on a woman to find a mate – a suitable mate from a similar background. Educating a girl was seen as a good thing except when it jeopardised you getting a partner from your own class. Mothers were as keen as Mrs Bennet in Pride and Prejudice to get their daughters married and settled. This was a tame outlook for a girl. The worse things that could happen to you was a) To lose your virginity before marriage b) To get pregnant. Sexual passion came parcelled up with shame.
Out of this cauldron of suppressed sexuality, DH Lawrence writings emerged. It’s fantastic that finally there is a production (Hartswood Films in association with Serena Cullen productions) that gets to the core of all this while allowing the stories of the time and of the place and of the people to unfold. Beautifully balanced and acted – only on 2 occasions was the credibility of a character in doubt – the results of difficult editing choices. This was a great adaptation by Jed Mercurio with fantastic performances by Holiday Grainger and James Norton. Richard Madden is convincing as the man who sacrifices all for the woman he loves.