Sons and Lovers
Directed by Jack Cardiff
Written by Gavin Lambert and T.E.B. Clarke from the novel by D.H. Lawrence
The Company of Artists
First viewing/YouTube rental
This handsome film is a well-acted adaptation of Lawrence’s classic novel of desire, both repressed and unleashed.
Paul Morel (Dean Stockwell) is a rebellious artist living in an impoverished English mining town. His mother (Wendy Hiller) dotes on him and his drunken miner father (Trevor Howard) fails to understand him. Paul has had a long-term relationship with Miriam. She loves him deeply, but religion as preached by her mother forbids her from letting him get physical. Paul’s mother disapproves of the friendship and seems likely to frown on any girl Paul gets serious about. This is not a real problem since he has vowed never to get married while she is alive.
Paul’s filial devotion prevents him from accepting an offer to study painting in London. Instead, he goes to work at a corset factory. There he meets Clara Dawes (Mary Ure), a suffragette who has separated from her husband due to his infidelity. Clara is open to “free love” and she and Paul begin an affair. But Paul’s heart really belongs to mother.
All the acting is of a very high standard but I thought that Hiller, who failed to snag a nomination, was the best thing about this movie. The story is interesting and the visuals are simply gorgeous. Recommended.
Freddie Francis won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White. Sons and Lovers was nominated in the categories of Best Picture; Best Actor (Howard); Best Supporting Actress (Ure); Best Director; Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium; and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White.