West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 6 | July 11 - 17, 2007

Koch on film

B“Lady Chatterley” (-)
When I was in high school, the pornographic novel that was supposed to be a sex manual was “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” by D. H. Lawrence. But the book was not available to us because the post office would not allow it to enter the country. So we just thought about it and imagined the carnal scenes. A boy’s imagination is incredible, especially when his hormones are surging.

D. H. Lawrence was a name in those days that every high school student knew. Later in life, I became reacquainted with him through his novels and the movies based on them. His best work was “Sons and Lovers,” upon which a 1960 movie was based. If you haven’t seen it, you should. So when “Lady Chatterley,” the subject of different film versions, appeared on the local scene, this time in French, I decided to see it. Regrettably, like so many boyhood fantasies, the real thing was disappointing.

There is lots of sex and female and male full frontal nudity, but the film is so static, so innocent, so lacking decadence, it was a huge disappointment. After all, beginning with “Last Tango In Paris” starring Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider, many lesser films devoted to sex on the screen have become the coin of the realm. The post office and the Hayes office no longer interfere.

The plot is simple: Lady Constance (Marina Hands) is married to Lord Clifford Chatterley (Hippollyte Girardot), a World War I veteran who is crippled as a result of a war injury and confined to a wheelchair. They are a rich English couple. He is a director of a mine whose workers go on strike. She is young and sex starved, but her gentility precludes an affair. That is until she sees the gamekeeper, Oliver Parkin (Jean-Louis Coulloc’h), washing himself in front of his hut.  Inevitably, they have an affair which is so tame compared with other celluloid depictions of similar romances.

The movie, nearly three hours long, is deadly. I left the theater at 11 p.m. Since it was too late for dinner, I went home to sleep. (In French, with English subtitles.)

HS said: “We knew the story before we saw the film. The cast spoke French, but naked French looks just like naked English. There were protracted, artistic shots of birds, leaves and rainfall. This was as innocent as Chatterley can be. A lovely lady and a hunky gamekeeper doing the deed sometimes out of doors and once in the rain. Even Clifford was a good sport.”

“You Kill Me” (-)
This movie is badly done. The scriptwriters could not decide whether they were writing an organized crime drama or a farce. The combination of the two turned out deadly.

The picture opens in Buffalo where we witness a fight between two rival gangs. The Irish group is led by Edward O’Leary (Dennis Farina), and Roman (Philip Baker Hall) heads the Polish gang. One member of the Polish gang, Frank (Ben Kingsley), is unable to perform a hit assignment because of his alcoholism. He is banished to San Francisco where he attends AA meetings and becomes a pal of another AA member who makes homosexual suggestions. Frank is heterosexual and ultimately meets a young woman, Laurel (Tea Leoni), with whom he becomes involved. The film contains mob violence scenes as well as romantic ones, but they have little or no interesting impact. The actors tried their best but failed to turn this stew into anything remotely approaching a video worth renting.

This flick is a waste of your time and your money.

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