Sons and Lovers


Sons and Lovers

Screenplay by Gavin Lambert and T.E. B. Clarke

Based on the novel by D.H. Lawrence

Cinematography by Freddie Francis

Art Direction: Tom Morahan

Sets: Lionel Couch

Edited by Gordon Pilkington

Produced by Jerry Wald

Directed by Jack Cardiff

Theatrical Release: 1960



Trevor Howard

Dean Stockwell

Wendy Hiller

Mary Ure

Heather Sears

Donald Pleasence

William Lucas

Conrad Phillips

Ernest Thesiger


Production Studio:

Theatrical: 20th Century Fox (Company of Artists)

Video: Fox Cinema Archive



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1 (CinemaScope)

Resolution: 480i

Disc Type: DVD-VOD

Bit Rate: Moderate (ca. 5.5 Mbps)

Runtime: 103 min.

Region: 1



English Dolby Digital 2.0





Bonus Features:




DVD Clamshell Case: DVD/VOD

Street Date: April 16, 2013


Critical Press:

TV Guide

Many works have been written about the domination of sons by mothers, but few have come close to the insights of Lawrence's classic, and it is much to the film's credit that a great deal of its dialogue comes straight from the novel. The film's period details are excellent, and the direction by cinematographer-turned-director Cardiff (who photographed such films as The Red Shoes, Leave Her to Heaven and The African Queen) is first rate. All of the actors acquit themselves well, even in the most menial roles. Crutchley is exquisite as Sears' mother and veteran Thesiger (who, at 81, was making his penultimate film in a career that began in 1918) is equally memorable.




Sons and Lovers is a well-made and conscientious adaptation of D. H. Lawrence’s famed novel, smoothly directed by Jack Cardiff and superbly acted by a notable cast. Gavin Lambert and T. E. B. Clarke collaborated in producing a literate screenplay, though not entirely recapturing the atmosphere of the Nottinghamshire mining village so vividly described in the original. Also there is a tendency to portray the mother as an overly selfish, possessive and nagging woman. Even Wendy Hiller’s flawless performance cannot make her a sympathetic character. Easily the outstanding feature of the production is the powerful performance by Trevor Howard, as the miner. He gives a moving and wholly believable study of a man equally capable of tenderness as he is of being tough. He looks the character, too. Dean Stockwell puts up a good showing as the son, and makes a valiant try to cope with the accent.


Image: 9

What’s this - a score of 9 for a Fox Cinema Archive MOD! This is rare indeed for any of their DVDs. It’s unheard of for a CinemaScope movie where, until now (to my knowledge), they have all been “modified” from 2.35:1 > 1.33:1.  Not so with this release of Sons and Lovers. Why this title and not a dozen others, I can’t say, but we must be grateful for whatever crumbs we are given. Having said that, I should note that this transfer takes full advantage of Freddie Francis’ Oscar-winning, brooding B&W cinematography. It’s sharp, coherent, highly resolved and, expect for the minor occasional speck, defect-free. It’s only fault is a tendency to darkness that I think even Mr Francis would find more than he intended. I could be wrong.



Audio: 7

As is common with Fox Cinema Archive MOD releases, the audio is transferred so high that it will require dialing down your output. Beyond that the audio is uneventful. The dialogue is clear enough which is what is most important. Effects and music is balanced a safe distance behind as is common for the time.






Recommendation: 8

A particularly well transferred widescreen black & white film One of the best cinematic adaptations of a DH Lawrence novel. Not as ripe and erotic as Ken Russell’s Women in Love but very much in the style of the book. Bloody well acted, too. . .  which reminds to point out that while Trevor Howard is listed at the top of the cast, he is kept very much in the shadows, figuratively and literally. Stockwell plays the character the title is all about - him and his three loves. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this release signals a new development vis-a-vis Fox’s attitude toward CinemaScope transfers. Recommended.


Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

May 20, 2013

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