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Classic 1970s softcore porn
on October 15, 2002
"Young Lady Chatterley" is a goofy, smarmy, tongue-in-cheek classic of late 1970's soft-core porn. The movie stars a pre-breast-augmentation Harlee McBride (a.k.a. Mrs. Richard Belzer, Detective John Munch on NBC cop shows) as Cynthia Chatterley, the niece of Lady Constance Chatterley (the main character of the D.H. Lawrence book). After Cynthia inherits her late aunt's English estate, she leaves the big city to explore it for herself. Once there, she has sex with just about everything that moves... the chambermaids, a hitchhiker, visitors to her house, all culminating in a large gangbang-type orgy centered around a Victorian costume party.
The movie is tongue-in-cheek throughout. None of the actors (including Peter Ratray as the gardener with whom Cynthia conducts her frequent sexual liaisons) seem to be taking the material seriously, but this adds to the overall ambience of the film. Producer-Director Alan Roberts (who also helmed the lesser 1985 sequel, "Young Lady Chatterley II") keeps the camera away from possible revealing shots, and except for one early sex scene (in a flashback sequence), there is no frontal nudity.
Overall, in the world of great 70's soft-core porn, this ranks as a classic and guilty pleasure. Although tomboyish, Harlee McBride exudes raw sexuality and eroticism, especially in her strongest scene, in which she has graphic intercourse with a hitchhiker while riding in the back of a car. Unlike the 1985 sequel, McBride still has natural breasts and a non surgically-altered body, so we can believe she's really an heiress to a beautiful, sprawling English estate, and just not another porn star. I recommend watching the unrated version, which is available on this DVD.
Undoubtedly, many of you will remember seeing this film and its sequel on American cable TV networks in the late 1980's, which was when I first saw it. If so, this DVD will bring back memories of late-night classic porn on HBO and other networks. The DVD has a nostalgic feel to it, and the presentation is nice. Overall, this is a good, sexy movie for connoisseurs of the genre.