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Sons and Lovers (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sons and Lovers
Sons and Lovers poster.jpg
film poster
Directed byJack Cardiff
Written byT. E. B. Clarke
Gavin Lambert
Based onSons and Lovers
by D. H. Lawrence
Produced byJerry Wald
StarringTrevor Howard
Dean Stockwell
Wendy Hiller
Mary Ure
CinematographyFreddie Francis
Edited byGordon Pilkington
Music byMario Nascimbene
Distributed byTwentieth Century Fox
Release date
May 1960
Running time
103 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office$1,500,000 (US/Canada rentals)[2]
$800,000 (UK rental)[3]

Sons and Lovers is a 1960 British drama directed by Jack Cardiff adapted from the semi-autobiographic novel of the same name by D. H. Lawrence. It stars Trevor Howard, Dean Stockwell, Wendy Hiller, Mary Ure, William Lucas and Donald Pleasence. Location shooting took place near Nottingham in the East Midlands of England, very close to where Lawrence himself grew up.

The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning one for Best Cinematography.[4] The film was also entered into the 1960 Cannes Film Festival.[5][6]


A young man with artistic talent who lives in a close-knit, English coal-mining town during the early 20th century finds himself inhibited by his emotionally manipulative, domineering mother — a literary, psychological interpretation of the Oedipus story.

Gertrude Morel (Wendy Hiller), miserable in her marriage, puts her hope into her son, Paul (Dean Stockwell), who has the talent and ambition to become an artist, a desire that is mocked by his father, Walter (Trevor Howard), a miner who drinks heavily and sometimes shows his bitterness in violent ways. Paul finds his own desires to escape to a different life sidetracked by his mother's possessiveness but also by local girl Miriam Leivers (Heather Sears), with whom he has an intellectual relationship that he desires to become physical. Miriam, though, suffers from her own mother's religious influence, viewing sex as sinful and dirty.

Paul's youngest brother, Arthur (Sean Barrett), dies in a mining accident, while older brother William (William Lucas) flees to London. When William later returns for a visit, he is accompanied by his new wife, a pretty and more affluent young lady who lacks the Mary's literate romanticism or Gertrude's passionate sense. When a sketch of Paul's is exhibited in Nottingham, a wealthy art patron (Ernest Thesiger) criticizes the work but later comes to the Morel house to offer support because he recognized Paul's potential as an artist. Paul's desires are frustrated again, though, when Miriam rejects his physical advances and a violent confrontation between his parents convinces him that he is needed for his mother's financial support.

Paul takes a job in a factory, where he becomes enchanted with self-actualized and "liberated" feminist co-worker, Mrs. Clara Dawes (Mary Ure), who is married, though separated. Nonetheless, he continues seeing Miriam, who finally agrees to have sex with him, which he comes to regret for making her do something that she so disliked. Paul and Clara, though, eventually begin a passionate affair, but it is now Paul who does not feel that he can totally commit himself to her, in large part due to his mother's emotional hold on him. Clara's husband threatens and later beats Paul, who returns home to his mother. She has slipped into a morose depression due to Paul's growing distance from her, and she later becomes seriously ill, something that has been hinted at in her behavior for some time. Clara rejects Paul for his lack of emotional connection to her, but she confirms her own continuing feelings for her husband when he suffers an accident and she returns to him.

Paul and his father come to a kind of reconciliation as Gertrude lies dying. After her death Walter tells his grieving son that he must find his own path in life. Meeting Miriam one last time, he tells her that he is leaving. She suggests that they marry so that she can support him, but Paul rejects her proposal of marriage, telling her that he intends to live the rest of his life without any serious relationship with another woman.



Sons and Lovers was filmed on location in Nottingham, England and at the Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, England. The musical theme by Mario Nascimbene was arranged for both piano and orchestra.

Dean Stockwell, whose performance was the most heavily criticized in reviews, was given the role of Paul at the insistence of producer Jerry Wald, who hoped that an American in the cast would increase the film's box-office appeal in the United States.[7]

The part of Clara Dawes was offered to Joan Collins, but she turned it down. Her then-fiance Warren Beatty didn't want her to do it and thought the script was "crap". The part went finally to Mary Ure, who was nominated for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.[8]


Box office

By January 1961, the film had earned $1,500,000 in box office rentals from the United States and Canada and $800,000 in the United Kingdom.[2][3]

Critical reaction

Bosley Crowther of The New York Times wrote: "Sons and Lovers is sensitively felt and photographed in Jerry Wald's British-made film version of (Lawrence's novel)... An excellent cast of British actors (and one American) play it well. And Jack Cardiff, camera man turned director, has filled it with picture poetry."[9] Variety described the film as "a well-made and conscientious adaptation of the D. H. Lawrence's famed novel, smoothly directed by Jack Cardiff and superbly acted by a notable cast." The review particularly singled Trevor Howard for "giving a moving and wholly believable study of a man equally capable of tenderness as he is of being tough."[10] Harrison's Reports wrote: "Prizeworthy performances are rendered by all, especially Trevor Howard as a humorous, drunken miner; Wendy Hiller as his wife; Dean Stockwell as the sensitive son; Heather Sears and Mary Ure as friends of Stockwell. Direction is outstanding; photography [is] fine."[11]


Association Category Nominee Result
Academy Awards[4] Best Picture Jerry Wald Nominated
Best Actor in a Leading Role Trevor Howard Nominated
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Mary Ure Nominated
Best Director Jack Cardiff Nominated
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium T. E. B. Clarke, Gavin Lambert Nominated
Best Cinematography (Black and White) Freddie Francis Won
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White Thomas N. Morahan, Lionel Couch Nominated
Golden Globes[12] Best Motion Picture – Drama Nominated
Best Director Jack Cardiff Won
Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama Trevor Howard Nominated
Dean Stockwell Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Mary Ure Nominated
National Board of Review[13] Best Film Won
Best Director Jack Cardiff


  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey (1989). Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 252. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1.
  2. ^ a b "Rental Potentials of 1960". Variety. 4 January 1961. p. 47 – via Internet Archive.
  3. ^ a b "'Sons & Lovers' Does Well". Variety. New York. 2 August 1961. p. 2.
  4. ^ a b "The 33rd Academy Awards (1961) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  5. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Sons and Lovers". Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved 19 February 2009.
  6. ^ Crowther, Bosley (22 May 1960). "Cannes Carnival". The New York Times. p. D1. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  7. ^ "Sons and Lovers (1960: Trivia". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  8. ^ Dame Joan Collins on Jackie, #MeToo, & 'American Horror Story', Interview with Larry King. Retrieved 8 May 2021 – via YouTube.
  9. ^ Crowther, Bosley (3 August 1960). "Screen: Tepid Passions". The New York Times.
  10. ^ "Film Reviews: Sons and Lovers". Variety. 25 May 1960. p. 6. Retrieved 24 August 2021 – via Internet Archive.
  11. ^ "'Sons and Lovers' with Trevor Howard, Dean Stockwell, Mary Hiller, Mary Ure and Heather Sears". Harrison's Reports. 9 July 1960. Retrieved 24 August 2021 – via Internet Archive.
  12. ^ "Winners & Nominees 1961". Golden Globes. Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  13. ^ "1960 Award Winners". National Board of Review. Retrieved 24 August 2021.

External links

This page was last edited on 25 November 2021, at 14:36
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