The first appearance of Barrett in The Servant neatly sets up the ideas behind the film. Available for everyone, funded by readers. Barrett brings in a young woman he describes as his "niece"; in the film it is his sister, and the misplaced suspicion of incest between Barrett and Vera becomes the "unnatural" act. This is what the outsider Losey orchestrates, what Pinter writes and what Bogarde embodies. The Servant is the first film collaboration between writer Harold Pinter and director Joseph Losey, and skilfully combines their two distinctive styles. They may well have been alive to its literary echoes. That's what he gets for torturing me. The servant appeared from nowhere and said in his odd drawl: "I see you are admiring my young nephew, sahr. , The first of Pinter's three film collaborations with Losey, which also include Accident (1967) and The Go-Between (1971), The Servant is a tightly constructed psychological dramatic film about the relationships among the four central characters examining issues relating to social class, servitude and the ennui of the upper classes.. And a mention should go to Tinge Krishnan's social-realist drama Junkhearts (2011), which features Eddie Marsan as the ex-soldier who befriends a young homeless teen and gives her a platonic bed for the night in his council flat, only to discover she wants to bring in her boyfriend, who has been planning from the outset to take over his property. • This is an edited extract from Peter Bradshaw's essay on The Servant included in the film's DVD booklet. The word did not yet mean "homosexual" but is in the process of transition. Losey, Joseph. In a tense scene filmed in a single take, Susan visits the house while Barrett is in and Tony is out. As far as movies go, Joseph Losey's previous film with Dirk Bogarde had a similar cuckoo-in-the-nest theme. Raymond Durgnat summarises the differences between, and aims of, Barrett and Tony thus: “Tony’s rather subtle, ordinary mix of aimlessness, pretension, innocence, and ineffectiveness becomes a metaphor for upper-middle-class: not swinging, but dangling. Just as the biblical Abraham did twice with his wife Sarah (Genesis 12:10-20 and Genesis 20:1-18), Barrett brings his lover Vera (Sarah Miles), whom he presents as his sister, into Tony's household as a maidservant. NOT. Relationships begin shifting, however, and they change with the introduction of Susan (Wendy Craig), Tony's girlfriend, who is suspicious of Barrett and hates all he represents. It was not unusual for instructions to be brusque, and the word "please" to be avoided, and a sentence rounded off with a curt "… would you?" It’s The Admirable Crichton inverted.”2.
It is a woman who seduces Tony. He has a character, Richard Merton, who does not appear in the film: a concerned friend of Tony who is the narrator (Maugham even implies that it is their relationship that is the bond of true love). Thu 21 Mar 2013 23.40 GMT With Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay, Edward Fox, Zena Walker. UK: Studio Canal, 2007, Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists, "Joseph Losey & Harold Pinter: In Search of PoshLust Times", "Films by Harold Pinter: The Servant 1963", The Harold Pinter Archive in the British Library, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Servant_(1963_film)&oldid=966101122, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Winner, Most Promising Newcomer - BAFTA (, Nominee, Most Promising Newcomer - BAFTA (, Nominee, Best Actor - New York Film Critics Circle (Dirk Bogarde), Nominee, Best Director - New York Film Critics Circle (Joseph Losey), Weedman, Christopher (2019). Upper-class Tony hires servant Hugo Barrett, who turns out to have a hidden agenda. With its dark shadows, and faces distorted in convex mirrors, it looks like a scary movie, which is what it is. And so the servant classes might well take refuge in an enigmatic mask, or take revenge with little gestures of pique or cheek, and generally store up resentment. Through Barrett's and Vera's manipulations, the couples reverse roles; Tony becomes more and more dissipated, sinking further into what he perceives as Barrett and Vera’s level, whereas Barrett becomes more domineering and commanding; the master and the servant exchange roles. © 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies.
The affluent, foppish Tony seems to have it all, and initially his new home is full of possibilities. Unlike Tony, her instincts tell her that Barrett is trouble. Watch Queue Queue The lengthy opening pan shot, a recurring camera move, introduces Barrett as he approaches the entrance to Tony’s flat. It opened at London's Warner Theatre on 14 November 1963. But Jeeves was entirely benign and discreet. The Sleeping Tiger (1954) starred Bogarde as Frank, a criminal who is invited by a trendy psychotherapist to come and live in the family house, believing that a stable environment will help him. Even in context, however, The Servant looks unique: its formal, theatrical elegance, combined with the ugliness of its emotions and fears, looks sharper and fiercer than ever. The fridge was just next to the manservant's room in the basement, the door of which was open; Maugham glanced in and saw a naked teenage boy on the bed. The film was produced and directed by Arthur Hiller, and stars Peter O'Toole as both Miguel de Cervantes and Don Quixote, James Coco as both Cervantes' manservant and Don Quixote's "squire" Sancho Panza, and Sophia Loren as scullery maid and prostitute Aldonza, whom the delusional Don Quixote idolizes as Dulcinea. First published on Thu 21 Mar 2013 23.40 GMT. The battleground for this class struggle is mainly confined to a single location, a house owned by Tony (James Fox), an eligible bachelor and upper-class naïf who fancies himself a businessman. Recollections of Coproducing Two Videos by Jean-Luc Godard for Prime-Time on Télévision Suisse Romande: Hidden Images: The Disappearance and Re-appearance of the Leader Lady, Cinema Unbound: Some notes on the 9th Festival des Cinémas Différents de Paris, Your Daughters Come Back to You: The 28th Pan African Film and Arts Festival, Reimagining the Film Festival Landscape in the Time of a Global Pandemic: The 27th Sheffield Doc/Fest, Closer Than Ever? Subscribe to Senses of Cinema to receive news of our latest cinema journal.Enter your email address below: The subject of The Servant (1963) is the English class system and its tensions in swinging sixties London. Now, I’m in a living nightmare as I work alongside this monster of a man with mesmerizing emerald eyes that look at me inappropriately every time I see him. However, while Performance suggests that identities are fluid and class differences can be overcome, the motives of Barrett in The Servant are more – and literally – black-and-white: a cold, calculating exchange of identities and a ruthless assumption of power. To locate the gay gene in The Servant, you have to go back to its source, the 1948 novella written by Robin Maugham, the nephew of W Somerset Maugham. JM Barrie's play The Admirable Crichton showed a butler taking power because he is the only one with practical knowhow when his aristocratic employers are shipwrecked with him on a desert island: but the status quo is ultimately restored. Wed 27 Mar 2013 12.21 EDT As Nick James notes, “Pinter’s claustrophobic scenario enabled Losey to employ all his European art-cinema riffs at the service of a very English interior made sinister – the London house as a kind of nightclub cum prison – and a very English problem: the class system.”1. To consolidate his power and influence over Tony, Barratt brings Vera (Sarah Miles), his accomplice and lover, into the home as a housekeeper, telling Tony that she is his sister and laying the groundwork that will lead to Tony’s moral corruption and gradual decline. "It was Losey who first showed Robin Maugham's novella The Servant to Bogarde in 1954.