Sons and Lovers (film)

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Sons and Lovers
Sons and Lovers poster.jpg
film poster
Directed by Jack Cardiff
Produced by Jerry Wald
Written by T. E. B. Clarke
Gavin Lambert
Starring Trevor Howard
Dean Stockwell
Wendy Hiller
Mary Ure
Music by Mario Nascimbene
Cinematography Freddie Francis
Edited by Gordon Pilkington
Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox
Release date
May 1960
Running time
103 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $805,000[1]
Box office $1,500,000 (US/ Canada)[2]

Sons and Lovers is a 1960 black and white British film adaptation of the D. H. Lawrence 1913 novel of the same name. It was adapted by T. E. B. Clarke and Gavin Lambert, directed by Jack Cardiff,[3] and stars Trevor Howard, Dean Stockwell, Wendy Hiller, Mary Ure, William Lucas and Donald Pleasence.

Freddie Francis won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work using CinemaScope on Son's and Lovers and the film received nominations in six additional categories,[4] and was entered into the 1960 Cannes Film Festival.[5]


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, miserable in her marriage, puts her hope into her son, Paul. In her attempt to manipulate Paul's life she jealously attempts to prevent Paul from having a relationship with any woman. However, Paul goes to the city for a job and becomes enchanted with self-actualized and "liberated" feminist co-worker, Mrs. Clara Dawes, who is married. Paul and Clara become involved sexually and Clara realizes that Paul's emotional attachment, as with her own, lies with another person — in Paul's case, his mother.

Gertrude learns of Paul's involvement with Clara, and she slips into a morose depression and physical sickness. Paul flees to his mother, to care for her and sit by her side. After his mother's death, Paul meets the girlfriend of his youth, Miriam, and tells her that because of his codependency with his mother he intends to live the rest of his life without any serious relationship with another woman — in essence fulfilling his mother's desire and objective.



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.


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). ... Jack Cardiff, cameraman turned director, has filled it with picture poetry. ... The drabness of a north-of-England coal town, the warmth of a poor coal miner's home, the bleakness of the wintry English country near Eastwood, where Lawrence was born — all are caught and concentrated in this film, appropriately black-and-white, which puts forth the generalized Lawrence story in a stunning pictorial style. ... (T)he most dynamic and emotional character in the film is the discarded miner-father, played brilliantly by Trevor Howard. His frequent violent flare-ups of rebellion, his pitiful complaints of chagrin and his always underflowing indications of a sense of being not wanted and alone are perhaps the most clear articulations of the theme of frustration in the tale. Through him is expressed most intensely the realization of the mortality of young love."[6]

Academy Awards

Award Nominee Result
Best Picture Jerry Wald (producer) 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



  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p252
  2. ^ "Rental Potentials of 1960", Variety, 4 January 1961 p 47. Please note figures are rentals as opposed to total gross.
  3. ^ Jack Cardiff
  4. ^ a b "NY Times: Sons and Lovers". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-23. 
  5. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Sons and Lovers". Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  6. ^ Bosley Crowther, "Tepid Passions: Lawrence's 'Sons and Lovers' Has Premiere" 3 August 1960

External links

  • Sons and Lovers on IMDb
  • FilmFour
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