Jack Cardiff – Sons and Lovers (1960)

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Sons and Lovers
At the Brattle through Saturday
By William A. Nitze, March 26, 1962
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Sons and Lovers does not lend itself easily to a movie script, but Jack Cardiff has transformed Lawrence’s novel into a superb film. The reader must follow a slow and agonizing series of conflicting passions presented in a style which is often deceptively complex. Through a skillful rearrangement of plot elements and dialogue Cardiff has condensed the novel into an hour and 45 minutes without sacrificing its subtlety and force.

The film opens halfway through the story: Paul Morel is in his early twenties. Within the first ten minutes one grasps all of the important relationships of the drama: the abandonment of Walter Morel by his wife and sons, who detest him because of his weakness and cruelty; Paul’s desperate attachment to his mother, and his frustrated love for Miriam. The film then concentrates on the final failure of Miriam to break through Mrs. Morel’s hold on her son, Paul’s unsuccessful affair with Clara Dawes and his final liberation through his mother’s death. Continue reading