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U.K., 1963
Directed by Joseph Losey
Starring Dirk Bogarde, Sarah Miles, James Fox, Wendy Craig
Screenplay by Harold Pinter
DCP.  Approx. 115 min.

James Fox thinks he’s found a “treasure” in new butler Dirk Bogarde, then starts checking out Bogarde’s sister Sarah Miles, in Losey’s pioneering Mod psychodrama, first of three collaborations with playwright Harold Pinter.


“Iconographically, Servant transcends contemporary echoes of early 1960s infatuation with the jaded rich to claim a piece for itself as a work of enduring value…Through decor, camera work, editing, sound and direction of actors, Losey fully realizes Pinter’s intentions. [He] brings to the assignment a maturity and ease, a ripe command of the grammar of the film, that far surpass his previous achievements. With The Servant, he is no longer merely unusual or eccentric, he is no longer something of an oddity, but a director of the first rank, an absolute master of the craft.”
– Foster Hirsch

“Gay sexuality is everywhere and nowhere in this movie, and Pinter’s sleek, indirect dialogue hints at suppressed and unacknowledged desire. The emotional mind games escalate: the servant becomes the master and both men are secretly ashamed; Fox of having fraternized with the lower orders, and Bogarde of having been trifled with by his employer. This is what unites them in their private and intelsley English danse macabre. It is a brilliant, subversive account of class relations and the changing times.”
 – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“In terms of tone and mood. The Servant stands almost alone. You’d have to seek out two other guys-go-mad-in-a-flat-alone movies, Performance and Dead Ringers, to find anything that approaches its atmosphere of febrile desperation and deepening identity confusion. The performances are note-perfect and Pinter’s script is smart, subversive and sly, lifting the lid on our age-old feudal hierarchy and having a good dig about inside. But it’s Losey’s direction which sets the nerves jangling: all deep shadows, distorted reflections and glowering close-ups, he quite literally takes us through the looking glass into a charged, claustrophobic fever dream of privilege, power and perversion.”
 – Tom Huddleston, Time Out

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