Lady Chatterley [1993]

Those who believe British miniseries to be too proper and corseted may want to make an exception for Ken Russell's 1992, four-hour BBC adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's scandalous novel. Between the full frontal female nudity and empowering shed-rocking sex scenes, this is something for everyone to have a randy good time. To save you the bother of fast-forwarding, episodes two and three contain the very naughtiest bits involving the illicit affair between "loyal wife, good companion" Constance Chatterly (Joely Richardson) and Oliver Mellors (Sean Bean), gamekeeper to Constance's embittered, paralyzed husband (James Wilby). When he insists his wife take a lover and produce an heir to his fortune, he didn't have the lowly "wild man of the woods" in mind. Neither did Constance, but soon enough the woods are alive with the sound of heavy panting and frantic gropings up against trees. The production is impeccably mounted--no pun intended--and the performances (particularly by the daring Ms. Richardson) impassioned. Save for one dream sequence involving a black horse (a symbol of passion, one character helpfully explains), and the, at times, overheated musical score that threatens to overwhelm the lovers, Russell (Tommy, Altered States) holds his tendencies toward excess in check. --Donald Liebenson

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