Friday, March 24, 2006

The Chatterley Affair

If you missed it this week, I urge you to catch The Chatterley Affair which being re-aired tonight on BBC4. From the BBC4 website :

Is it a book that you would even wish your wife or your servants to read?" In 1960, prosecutor Mervyn Griffith-Jones tried to persuade an Old Bailey jury to ban DH Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover.
All the details of the trial are on record. Except for what the jury said, thought... And did.
Andrew Davies' new drama offers a fictional account of the jurors' experience. It is seen through the eyes of Keith (Rafe Spall) and Helena (Louise Delamere), two of the jurors who fall in love under the influence of Lawrence's prose.

There is some interesting arguments being made, and the film captures the struggle people had over sexual morality during that period. The scenes in the jury room are played out nicely and in a realistic fashion. One of the jurors just refuses to accept any of the testimonies about the legitimacy of the novel as a great piece of literature, simply choosing to dismiss it as a 'dirty book'.

Just as compelling is the affair that emerges between Keith and Helena. Keith is married and smart if not very well-educated; a 'bit of rough' as he describes himself at one point. Helena is very bright, independent and the more sexually experienced of the two. Their affair starts to mirror that of the book and juxtaposes quite nicely with courtroom drama that is unfolding. Helena finds love and companionship that she has longed for, while Keith is sexually awakened from both the novel and the affair itself. Spall and Delamere are note perfect in their performances. Also new Doctor Who David Tennant appears briefly as an expert witness in the trial.

This film is engrossing and very well paced. The only thing that was a bit jarring was clips of interviews with the real Keith and Helena in the present. It is nice to see who they really are and the interviews themeselves are interesting; but I would have liked to imagine what happened to them after the trial was over rather than be told it. A bit of mystery would have made the conclusion much more powerful. Still its only a quibble.


At 6:41 AM, Anonymous popontherocks said...

Hate to change the topic but just wanted you to know I thought of what you said about Desp Housewives tonight as Lynette once again meddled and got her way. WTF?

At 11:10 AM, Blogger Ramification said...

hehe, tell me about it, that show drives me mad!


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