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The Servant (1963) - Joseph Losey

The Servant (1963) - Joseph Losey [Amazon.com]


The Servant is a 1963 British film, directed by Joseph Losey and starring Dirk Bogarde, Sarah Miles, Wendy Craig, and James Fox.

The film, based on the book of the same name by Robin Maugham, is a tightly woven psychological thriller that conveys the absolute coldness of the central characters towards any of the "joy that life is haunted by". Bogarde plays the title character, Hugo Barrett, with a seemingly desperate mixture of deliberateness and resignation. The energy in the film is kept bottled up but is not given a proper release that might bring closure to some viewers.

Tony and Susan (Fox and Craig) hardly exist at all. Tony hires Hugo for reasons that aren't quite clear. He's an accomplished person, capable of tending to his own needs, living in comfort surrounded by familiar tokens of his abilities. Yet, he's frozen. Susan is filled with quiet desperation but she's all dried up inside. She has nothing to give so he turns to the haughty, contemptuous servant to revive his manly spirit.

Throughout the film, Losey uses the Harold Pinter tune, "All Gone" to express the silent agonies each character is suffering through as their lives ware on. Pinter also wrote the screenplay and made a brief cameo appearance. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Servant [Feb 2005]

From the back cover

Winner of three British Academy Awards including Best Actor to Dirk Bogarde. In this landmark drama of class struggle and moral decay, a pampered playboy (James Fox) acquires an elegant townhouse complete with a dedicated man servant (Dirk Bogarde). But when the young man's fiancée (Wendy Craig) becomes suspicious of the servant's intentions, he and his "sister" (Sarah Miles) thrust the household into a sinister game where seduction is corruption and power becomes the most shocking desire of all. The Servant marked the first of three brilliant film collaborations between director Joseph Losey and playwright Harold Pinter, and was nominated for eight British Academy Awards including Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Film, Best Cinematography and Best Screenplay. From The Back Cover

Amazon review

Like Kubrick's Lolita, The Servant was made at a time when it was possible for filmmakers to flirt with previously forbidden topics (pedophilia in the first, sadomasochism in the second) as long as they suggested more than they showed. The indirection works to the advantage of both. "The Servant" is an insidious movie that works on your imagination far more effectively than an explicit exploration of the subject. The relationship between Hugo and his master Tony is never much more than a gradual, vaguely deepening dependency. That makes the action much more plausible and frightening. As Hugo slowly takes control of Tony's life, we watch in horrified fascination, desperate to stop it, but powerless to do so.-- Charles Tashiro via amazon.com

Dirk Bogarde [...]

Derek Jules Gaspard Ulric Niven van den Bogaerde (March 28, 1921 - May 8, 1999), better known by the stage name Dirk Bogarde, was an actor. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirk_Bogarde [Feb 2005]

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