My memories of Nicholas Clay in Lady Chatterly's Lover were fuzzy, I think maybe a late night viewing on the movie channel was my introduction, but Clay's outdoor wash off didn't take hold as it did this time around. Clay's sex appeal in the 1981 film had me looking forward to seeing more, and I wasn't disappointed.
I really enjoyed my recent viewing of Clay in the 1982 film adaptation of Agatha Christie's Evil Under the Sun. I love all things Diana Rigg related, and had heard, but never seen this film before. If you google search Clay, images of the scenes with Clay in his tight black, cheek baring bathing suit, frequently pop up.
I think I most enjoyed 1971's, The Night Digger, a moody, very seventies thriller with great performances. It also includes Clay first nude movie nude scenes, ten years before he took it off again in Lady Chatterley's Lover.
The Last Days of Pompeii (1981)
Clay's film roles slowed down after Lady Chatterley, with his last film appearance in 1987 alongside Eric Stotz in Lionheart. Clay continued to work steadily, but on television in many series, mini-series and TV movies. Clay died in London in 2000 at just 54 years old. I'm grateful for the FH reader who flagged me check out Clay's films, and draw attention to short, but memorable career.
Evil Under the Sun (1982)
Although there wasn't any nudity in 1982's Evil Under The Sun, Clay did get a little cheeky in his black speedo as Patrick Redfern. I loved watching this flick, not only is Clay in his black speedo for much of the film, we also get to see Olenna Tyrell and the Dowager Countess (co-stars Diana Rigg and Maggie Smith) throwing barbs at each other, 1980's style.
'In a decaying mansion on the outskirts of London, middle-aged spinster Maura Prince (Patricia Neal) lives a life of drudgery caring for her blind and domineering mother (Pamela Brown). Into their dysfunctional lives, a handsome stranger appears, riding on a motorbike and looking for work as a handyman. Young Billy Jarvis (Nicholas Clay) soon makes himself indispensable around the house, but his angelic features mask dysfunctions that threaten both women's lives.'
Ten years before he took it all off in Lady Chatterley's Lover, Nicholas Clay took it off in the creepy 1971 film The Night Digger. The 1971 British thriller film based on the novel Nest in a Fallen Tree by Joy Cowley and was adapted for the screen Roald Dahl. Dahl's wife at the time, actress Patricia Neal played Maura in the film. The Night Digger was the American title; it was originally released in the UK as The Road Builder.
'Merlin the magician helps Arthur Pendragon unite the Britons around the Round Table of Camelot, even as dark forces conspire to tear it apart.'
I have two memories of watching (or partly watching) 1981's Excalibur. The first, when my brother rented a VHS copy in the late 80's. I was about 11 or 12 and found it incredibly boring. I didn't stick around after about the first 20 minutes or so, I think I went upstairs and watched Full House. Clearly, my cinematic tastes had not been fully activated....
Ten or fifteen years later, it's the early 2000's, and during a 'movie night', someone brought Excalibur, claiming it's their favorite movie ever, and we simply must watch it.... I didn't, well, not much of it. This time I did however notice Lancelot, (Nicolas Clay) and knew who Helen Mirren was, but didn't enjoy it anymore than my first attempted viewing.
I stayed through the entire film this time, but mostly talked to the others on the couch, barely watching, except of course when Lancelot was naked in the woods. I still don't quite get the film, I want to try another viewing, but fear a third repeat experience. So much of the film, like Lancelot's nude scene, is edited in an odd dream like fashion that I find hard to engage with. Maybe now that I'm older, I'll have the patience, but sort of think my patience, may actually be even less forgiving.
I did go back and watch the section featuring Clay's nudity for this piece, and found it as frustrating as the first time. Although a naked Clay, wrestling with a armored Clay is appealing, it's but a brief few seconds. I can assure you of one thing, the promo stills for the love scene, show much more than the film itself, in fact they appear staged to make the love scene seem more... well, just more, than it appeared in the film.
'Obscenity only comes in when the mind despises and fears the body, and the body hates and resists the mind.'
D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover
She was beautiful and sensual, trapped in a loveless marriage. He was her husband's servant. Born into worlds as far apart, they found a passionate world of their own
Of course most remember Nicholas Clay's most famous nude scene, especially his outdoor shower in 1981's Lady Chatterley's Lover. If you want to join Sylvia Kristel for another peak at Clay's rinsing off, check out the clip below.