Directed by: Christopher Miles
Stars: Joanna Shimkus, Franco Nero, Honor Blackman
Description: Film adaptation from the novel by D.H. Lawrence, discovered after the celebrated author’s death in 1930, a romantic love story tells of a prim young English girl who is sexually attracted to a seductively virile gypsy. The climatic dam burst is linked with the consummation of her desire.
This film (written by Alan Plater from the story by DH Lawrence, and directed at a slow pace by Christopher Miles) is engrossing, evocative, and boasts fine performances from Franco Nero as the Gypsy and Joanna Shimkus as the frustrated, rebellious Yvette.
Yvette has been away in France at school and returns to the stifling atmosphere of the family Rectory (father Maurice Denham is a righteous sort who resents the desertion of his wife when Yvette and her sister Lucille were children; aunt Kay Walsh is a ranting religious nut who sees the presence of the devil in Yvette’s free spirited ways; Grandma Fay Compton is senile, difficult, and has a viper’s tongue; Uncle Fred, Norman Bird, is laid back and given to quiet tolerance of the family ways; and sister Harriet Harper is full of guilt at the betrayal of the mother when she flew the nest).
She finds free spirited friends (Honor Blackman and Mark Burns as the shockingly living-in-sin pair Mrs Fawcett and Maj Eastwood) and becomes enamoured of the brooding gypsy (Nero) whose blue eyes look at her with true desire.
There are recurring motifs throughout the film – mainly of water, which has much to contribute to the climax of events which make up Yvette’s mind conclusively. Does she stay and marry Leo (a rich man’s son with little personality – played by Jeremy Bulloch) or does she take her chance in a world which accepts her? It is interesting to compare this film with the earlier ‘Sky West and Crooked’ which took similar themes (and the same story as a starting point of suggestion) but went in a quite different direction.