12-27-2003

The wrestling scene from "Women in Love"

ALAN BATES, English actor, died (b. 1934); One of the pair of actors in one of the sexiest scenes ever recorded on film, the naked wrestling in front of the blazing fireplace scene in Larry Kramer’s brilliant screenplay of D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love.

Second only to the boathouse scene in James Ivory’s production of Maurice IMHO. Bates reportedly dated both men and women throughout his career, although from Spoto’s research, Bates’ treatment of his female companions seemed indicative of a man who was unwilling to admit to being homosexual. As one passage puts it: “Oh, he’s back with women again, is he?” said the director Peter Wood. “Really, he is so tedious!” Whether he was simply bisexual or a gay man trying desperately to escape his sexuality (which was a criminal offense for the first 30 years of his life, after all), Bates was an unabashedly free-spirited man, given to flights of romantic fancy and of course breaking many hearts along the way. I’m sorry I missed that.