Sons and Lovers (1960) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: Jack Cardiff received a 1960 Oscar Nomination as Best Director for this lush, engaging film starring Trevor Howard, Dean Stockwell and Donald Pleasence, which was adapted from D.H. Lawrence's classic novel. A young man with artistic talent who lives in a close-knit, English coal-mining town during… Runtime: 103 min Release Date: 22 Jul 1960
How can there be so little attention and knowledge about this film? Nominated for SEVEN academy awards including Best Picture!I have always felt that CinemaScope was made for B&W films. Scope films look really good B&W. And to my mind the best B&W photographed movie of All Time is SONS & LOVERS. This was a prestige picture for distributor 20th Century-Fox, as indicated by the rare lack of drum roll over the Fox Logo - instead the beginning of the outstanding music score is heard. In the Chicagoland area in 1960 and again at a theatre in Okland, CA in 1976 I had the pleasure to <more>
view the film with Mag Stereo Sound. I also saw a new print in NYC sometime in the early 80's. So why has Fox let this picture set in obscurity? My only knowlege of any TV exposure was on American Movie Classics Channel scanned only about ten years ago. This one NEEDS to be on DVD!!!!!!!!One last comment. if you've ever read the book, you will really appreciate the great job that was done in "adapting" the novel. The screenplay, which is SO well done, is I'd say a good 80% original material.
The limitations of space for comments make it impossible to detail this film's many virtues. The film is so good that I couldn't begin to do justice to its merits with my words. Don't miss the opportunity to see this film.There is an excellent script by Gavin Lambert aided by T.E.B. Clarke, which does a fine job of putting into 103 minutes a long, complex novel. Each scene in this film has a purpose to reveal character and make thematic points. There are no wasted scenes or aimless dialogue, yet the dialogue and action all seem natural. The characters are real and immediately <more>
involved me.There is a complexity to the characters. Paul's mother wants the best for him, yet at the same time she wants him for herself. Paul both wants to be free of his mother and is inextricably bound to her, so much that he refuses an all-paid education at a London art school to stay home with her, saying he doesn't want to see her alone with her abusive husband.Gertrude and Walter Morel's marriage is a complex one that befuddles Paul as he tries to understand the complex connection between the sensitive mother and the outwardly angry, rough father, who is, underneath, a very sensitive man, too. Walter fully understands the close relationship between his wife and Paul and knows he's locked out of that. He's both jealous of and angry at their closeness.Many excellent scenes here could stand alone. One such is the scene leading up to Paul and Clara having sex for the first time. There is good use of close-ups here in which Clara and Paul must convey much with their eyes.A certain restraint to the performances here give the characters an intensity they might not have were their performances more flamboyant, if they'd been given "big" scenes to play with shouting, tears, and so on.The cast in this film is perfect. I don't know of another film about which I could make that statement. I don't see a single poor performance. I can't imagine any other actors doing these roles. Each one fully inhabits the character that he/she is playing. It was a pleasure to see Heather Sears and Mary Ure again; both died far too young. And Dean Stockwell is at his youthful, handsome best. Wendy Hiller and Trevor Howard are both excellent. The excellence extends to the supporting players.The film is beautifully photographed in black and white. I'm sure this derives partly from director Jack Cardiff's background as a photographer, though Freddie Francis was the cinematographer here and won an Oscar for his work. Gavin Lambert and cast members Hiller and Howard didn't think much of Cardiff as director, whom 20th Century Fox forced upon producer Jerry Wald. Hiller and Howard both said they directed themselves throughout the film.The film was made in Cinemascope and should be seen in that form, for it doesn't scan well. Another IMDb commentator has written well about this; see his comments. Cardiff made good use of close-ups, but every part of this film is excellently framed, the positions of the characters in the frame, their relation to various items in the landscape. And the landscape adds a lot to the mood of the film.The film has an excellent score It should be seen in a theatre with a fine sound system , but it is not overscored, and the theme song doesn't become intrusive. This theme never became a hit like the theme from "A Summer Place" did, though the theme did turn up on a number of instrumental albums back in the 60s. People often didn't know from what film it came.I'm glad to know this film and appreciate its virtues.The film will probably send viewers to the novel, where they can find complete details about the Morel family yet also realize how well the film conveys the novel.A PBS version of this novel, starring Eileen Atkins as Gertrude Morel, Tom Bell as Walter Morel, and Karl Johnson as Paul, was shown in 1981. It has never been shown subsequently on PBS or elsewhere to my knowledge nor was it ever issued on video. Was it that bad?
This is an admirable adaptation of the 1913 D.H. Lawrence novel of the same name. The story concentrates on young Paul Morel and the relationships among him, his parents, his brothers, and his two lovers. This is a case where the title provides a good synopsis.The relationships are complex. Paul's father is a rough coal miner and his relationship with his wife is quarrelsome. We get a glimpse into how that relationship came to be, when in fact they were lovers. The intense relationship between Paul and his mother is at the core of the story--the dynamics of all the relationships are <more>
spin-offs of this central one. Paul talks of wanting to be free while being uncommonly devoted to his mother; this emotional tug-of-war is central to Paul's personality.Trevor Howard is wonderful as the father and the rest of the cast does not lag far behind. Contrary to some opinions, I found that Dean Stockwell was well cast as the sensitive, emotional young Paul.The filming is truly outstanding, earning Freddie Francis an Oscar for best cinematography. The composition of every scene reflects the work of a superb visual artist. Francis' ability to exploit the black and white CinemaScope format is a joy to behold. The 2.35:1 aspect creates a tremendous sense of freedom, making any other format seem rather claustrophobic. Black and white photography is ideally suited to the stark emotional and physical environment of this movie, a movie that depends a lot on facial expressions. I sincerely regret the passing of the art form of this super wide screen black and white filming. The most recent movies to film in this format, exclusively in black and white, are Woody Allen's "Manhattan," and "The Elephant Man" in 1980. Think how the facial closeups would lose impact if filmed in color, and how the scene with the young couple frolicking on the beach would be made insignificant. The final scene between Paul and his first girlfriend, Miriam, is so beautifully filmed as to make it hard to forget.The dialog is subtle and insightful, thanks to a good screenplay, but also thanks to D.H. Lawrence I assume. Consider this comment Miriam makes to Paul when he suggests they call it quits: "I could hate you for making me love you. Making me fail you."The only minor negative comment I can come up with is that the music gets a bit too aggressive on occasion.This movie deserved its seven Oscar nominations and it puzzles me as to why it is not more honored in film history.
SONS AND LOVERS Jack Cardiff, 1960 ***1/2 (by Bunuel1976)
This exquisite adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's novel is famed cinematographer Jack Cardiff's most accomplished film as a director; in fact, he was nominated and indeed won several major Best Direction awards including the Golden Globe . Sadly, none of his other directorial efforts were anywhere near as rewarding although I'd still like to watch at least 2 of them - the epic THE LONG SHIPS 1963 and the horror film THE MUTATIONS 1974; a SE DVD of which has been released under the title THE FREAKMAKER .Amazingly, this was a Hollywood production made by 20th Century Fox and, as <more>
such, leading man Dean Stockwell who was probably never better was imposed on Cardiff by producer Jerry Wald - though he seems to have been pleased with his performance. The acting of the Oscar-nominated Trevor Howard as Stockwell's boorish and drunkard coal-miner father and Mary Ure as the married but separated young suffragette with whom Stockwell has an affair , as well as Wendy Hiller as his strong but possessive mother , is irreproachable. The supporting cast includes Ernest Thesiger in one of his last films and Donald Pleasence, with both unfortunately having limited screen-time.Freddie Francis' luminous black-and-white cinematography earned the film its only Oscar; interestingly, Francis also followed in Cardiff's footsteps and became a film director himself with similarly erratic results, ironically enough . Mario Nascimbene's lovely music score and the film's vivid recreation of an era in authentic locations, no less add immeasurably to its lasting impression.The coal-mine setting recalls earlier films like Carol Reed's THE STARS LOOK DOWN 1939 and John Ford's HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY 1941 , with which it can be favorably compared. Still, for all its quaint Englishness and the inherent sentimentality of its narrative, the film is a remarkably adult and frank depiction of sexual and artistic awakening vis-à-vis repressed Edwardian society and, together with Ken Russell's equally celebrated adaptation of WOMEN IN LOVE 1969 , remains undoubtedly the finest screen rendition of D. H. Lawrence's work.It's a shame, therefore, that this is as yet unavailable on R1 DVD but the R2 edition I own is a more than adequate substitute, with a very nice-looking print of the main feature, surprisingly strong audio and, apart from the basic supplements of the original theatrical trailer and a stills gallery, features a wonderful interview with Cardiff about the making of SONS AND LOVERS interspersed with relevant clips from the film itself which clocks in at around half-an-hour.
The Amazingly Beautiful Dean Stockwell (by wlawson60)
Jack Cardiff, the director of "Sons and Lovers" was one of the greatest cinematographers ever. Just think of "Black Narcissus" but as a director he lacked that extra something, call it egomania, single mindedness or whatever you want. "Sons and Lovers" is beautifully crafted but it doesn't have a real center and by that I mean, no real point of view, no personality. What a feast however. Trevor Howard got an Oscar nomination for his role here and he is truly wonderful. The marvelous Wendy Hiller manages to give a soul to the monstrous mother and make her <more>
sympathetic without betraying the misogynistic nature of DH Lawrence's vision. But the film belongs to Dean Stockwell. His truth and his beauty is what I took away with me and stayed with me, always.
Ravishing Visually And Often Intense and poignant (by Handlinghandel)
Freddie Francis's cinematography is in some ways the star. It is not showy or intrusive. It's totally organic to the unfolding of the plot. Yet it is exquisite -- both with landscapes and with actors. This is especially true with Trevor Howard, very powerful as a boozy miner.The other star is that great actress Wendy Hiller. Her role is far from entirely sympathetic. She suffocates her favorite son, well played by Dean Stockwell. She is demanding in a quiet way and selfish in a manner passing itself off as martyrdom. But what a gorgeous performance! Mary Ure was a fine actress. <more>
Somehow, though, the character she plays doesn't entirely work in my view. It seems more from kitchen-sink realism, like the Shelagh Delaney plays that were filmed around this time. And where have they gone? Why don't we ever see "A Taste of Honey" or "The Leather Boys" anymore? Heather Sears is good but I have to admit, to my embarrassment, I found it hard to shake her excellent performance in the tile role of "The Story of Esther Costello" from my mind. Her being a bright young woman taken with Stockwell, therefore, startled me throughout. That is my own failing and surely not hers.This is a superb movie. All of it is good. But for me, the scenes involving Hiller are the most compelling. Howard, too, is superb. And Stockwell as Paul. The family story is heart-wrenching.
excellent Lawrence adaptation, absorbing and detailed (by didi-5)
This is perhaps Jack Cardiff's best known film as a director, and it is certainly not a letdown. 'Sons and Lovers' was DH Lawrence's most autobiographical novel, and here, although some aspects have been shorn down or removed, the substance of that novel comes through.In the main roles we have US actor Dean Stockwell as Paul Morel, the son who is suffocated by his overbearing mother, and derided by his miner father. His parents are played by Wendy Hiller and Trevor Howard, and they are brilliant in difficult roles. Stockwell, less so, although he certainly looks the part.The <more>
women in Paul's life are played by Heather Sears - another annoying part as Miriam which reminds me of her 'Room at the Top' performance a few years earlier - and Mary Ure, who is a little bland but watchable as Clara. Somehow Ure never really found her niche on the screen.The film looks sumptuous and the black and white photography is exactly right. There are moving scenes and moments of comedy, plus a wicked cameo appearance by Ernest Thiesinger as an art collector.This film is much less known than more showy Lawrence adaptations such as 'Women in Love', but it is excellent, well-paced, and is far from a disappointment.