Sylvia Kristel is beautiful as Lady Chatterley, and Nicholas Clay makes an earthy gamekeeper.
But their characterizations lack the necessary depth to achieve the passions of Lawrence's novel fully.
Parkin senses Constance's attraction to him, and he's equally taken by her beauty; in time the two throw caution to the wind and give in to their mutual passion.
Constance blooms through her lovemaking with Parkin, and she finds his simple, rustic individualism is more to her taste than the life her husband has given her.
Perhaps this was inevitable for a story that, if literally filmed, would be X-rated.
(It is rated R.) Compromises have been made in the direction by Just Jaeckin, who also wrote the screenplay with Christopher Wicking.
ANAIS NIN once observed that ''Lady Chatterley's Lover'' included crudeness of language because D. Lawrence wanted ''to dethrone mentally directed love.'' The latest movie version of the 1928 novel makes an effort to do that in a number of scenes that seem faithful to the general outlines of the story.
It is a pretty film that wavers between soft-core pornography and social comment, without ever involving the viewer emotionally.
One day, Constance steps out to take a walk and pauses to tell Parkin (Jean-Louis Coulloc'h), the estate's groundskeeper, that the cook would like him to shoot a pheasant for the evening's meal.
Constance discovers Parkin is only half-dressed, and the physical strength of his body makes a strong impression on her.
Who else can wear picture hats with the same grace as Miss Kristel and her friends?
Is it because of the queenly heritage of making a statement by chapeau?
Though it's mostly sophisticated when it comes to tackling the subject of sex -- a tough feat considering there's so much of it in the movie -- some scenes are quite graphic (one shows a woman atop a man, both naked; another shows a man's genitals).