It is also a ravishing period piece, with Julie Christie as Marian, the wilful daughter of the family having a clandestine relationship with tenant farmer Ted Burgess (Alan Bates). Margaret Leighton is marvellous as her mother who is determined her daughter shall marry Lord Trimingham - Edward Fox. Young Leo, too infatuated with Marian to realise how shallow and manipulative she is, soon gets caught up in their deceit as he becomes their go-between, carrying message back and forth .... It all comes to grief before too long, it seems everyone knows what is going on but it cannot be mentioned until the cold mother has had enough. Left: Dominic Guard as Leo and Julie Christie as Marian in 1971.
Lesley Manville (so good in Mike Leigh's ANOTHER YEAR) is absolutely marvellous as the mother, certainly the equal of Margaret Leighton, and a shrewd piece of casting has Vanessa Redgrave as the older Marian confronting Broadbent - as her father Michael Redgrave played the older Leo in the Losey film, which brings it to a nice conclusion. That final sequence worked better though in the Losey film. In all much better than the BBC's by all accounts tepid and dismal retelling of LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER which I did not bother with, all part of their current new versions of classic British literature, and now for the final series of DOWNTON ABBEY. Right: Vanessa Redgrave and Jim Broadbent.