Young Lady Chatterley (1977) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

In its last great theatrical period, softcore was trying to establish a new audience and new forms of distribution. By 1977, drive-ins were nearly dead, softcores could not compete side-by-side with hardcores on the raincoat circuit, there was not yet any substantial home video market, and cable TV was in an inchoate stage. Where, then, could softcore producers show their product? 

Their response to this crisis was to position it as a product to be viewed in respectable suburban theaters by couples, as the prelude to a night of erotic adventure between respectable people. 

Young Lady Chatterley was one of those late theatrical softcores, marketed toward couples.  Given that marketing strategy, and that era, you would note many differences from today's softcores, for example:


it's a softcore porn film. there is considerable male and female nudity

1. The breasts are 100% real.

2. The people have some acting ability, across-the-board.

3. The production values are lush. This one features a English country estate, a classic Bentley, period costumes, and lovely photography of the countryside and grounds.

4. The lead actress (Harlee McBride) doesn't seem sleazy at all. She is like your next door neighbor that you played with when you were kids, then had a crush on in high school. She reminds me of Bess Armstrong or Courtney Cox - cheerful, chirpy, a good sport, small-breasted.

5. Because women were part of the target audience, there is considerable male nudity.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • full screen, but not "pan 'n scan". Obviously the full negative, since the top third of the image is normally empty.

  • no major features (there are some bios and a trailer)

In those days, these films were rated "x" , not "r", although there was no penetration or even an erection in sight. "X" implied a softcore, and "XXX" implied hardcore. Strangely, there never was a "double x" 

By the way, the lead actress was Harlee McBride, who was 23 when she made this film, and she's the type of woman that would have been called "a swell kid" in 1940's films. Her last film was 16 years ago (the sequel to Young Lady Chatterley), after which she married Richard Belzer and moved to their villa in France to raise her family. 

The Critics Vote

  • no reviews online

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 4.8 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+, given a genre of "softcore porn". Top-of-the-line in the dying gasps of that genre as a theatrical format.

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