... Rupert Graves as Alec Scudder in Merchant Ivory's movie, Maurice.
My good friend, Terry, blogged yesterday about one of the models in his Naked Man Project reminding him of the essence of this character.
I had totally forgotten about this movie and the impact that this character had on me!
When I first watched it, one evening when my parents were out, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I must have been about seventeen or eighteen. The build up of Alec's attraction to the somewhat oblivious Maurice, the unstated sexual tension of the performance, was unbelievable.
When Alec noticed the ladder leaning against the house one evening, right near the window of the guest room where Maurice was staying, of course I was thinking, he's going to climb into Maurice's room - oh my god! I had not read the book so really didn't know if it would happen or was it just my horny mind wanting it to happen? And, really, I didn't expect it to happen because I'd never seen anything like that in a film before. So when Alec walks through the darkness and actually does climb the ladder to the other man's room, I almost couldn't believe it was happening. I remember staring at the screen saying, "Oh yes! Go Alec! Get him!" Too funny, but it was like, finally, I get to see an actual fulfillment of my unstated fantasies on film. Seeing two hot men together, especially the woodsy/sexy gamekeeper seducing the gentleman who is craving this kind of attachment so badly but is held back by circumstance and propriety.
I was also surprised and very pleased when Maurice ultimately decided to abandon his place in polite society to be with Alec. Their passionate, desperate kiss at the end holds all the promise of a full life together, no matter what they have to do to be able to achieve it. In retrospect, this movie was seminal to my current career as a writer of gay erotic romance.
It is really a gay version of Lady Chatterley's Lover, another of my favorite books. What is it about gameskeepers? Perhaps because they were so connected to the animal world, D.H. Lawrence and E.M. Forster figured they would understand better the primal desires that consume us.