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:: The Chatterley Affair

“The Chatterley Affair” is a very smart BBC drama that takes us back to 1960's landmark trial regarding D.H. Lawrence's “Lady Chatterley's Lover.” In October 1960 at the Old Bailey in London, a jury of nine men and three women were sworn in for the most famous and sensational obscenity prosecution ever to take place. It could be argued that the outcome changed England for ever, ushering in what we now think of as ‘the sixties’, with everything that that phrase implies.

Andrew Davies' very clever script mixes fact and fiction, showing us two jurors (Louise Delamere and Rafe Spall) who begin to rethink their own sex lives as they listen to the courtroom testimony.

Although Lawrence was widely considered one of the greatest novelists of the century, “Lady Chatterley's Lover” was banned for thirty years in England due to its sexual content. Foreign versions of the text were smuggled into the country, but Penguin Books was determined to publish a paperback edition that would be available to the general public at a reasonable price. The novel was still banned in the United States at that time. Eventually, the Penguin victory opened the doors to the much franker treatment of sex in the novels and films that followed.

At one point in “The Chatterley Affair,” a juror asks, “Is this how we want to start the 1960s?” and, “The Chatterley Affair” includes frank treatment of sex which is in keeping with the content of Lawrence's revolutionary novel.

The film presents both sides of the obscenity debate and shows that the issues in that 1960 court are still being grappled with, but on a much larger canvas that includes instant worldwide distribution of words and images. It's an important step towards freedom of speech in general. Informative, entertaining, and sexy, this DVD is definitely worth a watch.

DVD Extras

Documentary on the trial
Biography of D.H.Lawrence