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The Servant

Sexual taboos, power plays, clandestine longings, and the fragility of class relations all play a part in Harold Pinter’s breathtakingly biting takedown of British aristocracy and social mores. Adapted from Robin Maugham’s 1948 novelette. This extraordinary, recent restoration celebrates the film’s 50th anniversary.
Schedule
May 29, 2014
Thursday
7:00 PM Harvard Exit Date has passed

“I think servility is basically a manifestation of fear,” director Joseph Losey once commented, “and it’s a product of society.” Nowhere is this observation better displayed than in his masterpiece, The Servant. Upon returning to England from abroad, wealthy young Londoner Tony buys himself a posh new home. His first order of business is to hire a manservant to take care of the place. Enter Hugo Barrett (Dirk Bogarde). Over the next few weeks, Hugo oversees the renovation and decoration of the house while Tony settles into his role as “master.” However, relationships throughout the household shift when Susan, Tony’s fiancée, meets Hugo and instinctively distrusts him. Meanwhile, Hugo hires his sister Vera to serve as a maidservant, whose coquettish nature soon bewitches Tony. Soon afterwards, Tony discovers the true connection between Hugo and Vera, leading to a dramatic reversal of roles. With a screenplay by Nobel-prize winning playwright Harold Pinter and a chilling, BAFTA award-winning performance by Bogarde, The Servant is a potent examination of evil and a twisted portrait of the English class system. Unavailable on DVD.

Director Biography

Joseph Losey was born in Wisonsin and attended Dartmouth and Harvard for both medicine and eventually theater studies. He began directing several politically minded plays in New York before moving to Hollywood after World War II. After being blacklisted in Hollywood, Losey relocated to London in 1953 where he continued making films in his signature expressionist and noir-like style.

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Director: Joseph Losey
Principal Cast: Dirk Bogarde, James Fox, Wendy Craig, Sarah Miles
Country: United Kingdom
Year: 1963
Running Time: 115 minutes
Producer: Joseph Losey, Norman Priggen
Screenplay: Harold Pinter, from the novel by Robin Maugham
Cinematographers: Douglas Slocombe
Editors: Reginald Mills
Music: John Dankworth
Website: Official Film Website
Awards: BAFTA Awards 1964 (Best British Actor, British Cinematography, Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles), British Society of Cinematographers 1963 (Best Cinematography), New York Film Critics Circle Awards 1964 (Best Screenplay)
Filmography: Steaming (1985); The Trout (1982); Don Giovanni (1979); Roads to the South (1978); Monsieur Klein (1976); Galileo (1975); The Romantic Englishwoman (1975); A Doll’s House (1973); The Assassination of Trotsky (1972); The Go-Between (1970); Figures in a Landscape (1970); Boom! (1968); Secret Ceremony (1968); Accident (1967); Modesty Blaise (1966); King & Country (1964); The Damned (1963); Eva (1962); The Criminal (1960); Blind Date (1959); The Gypsy and the Gentleman (1958); Time Without Pity (1957); The Intimate Stranger (1956); A Man on the Beach (1955); The Sleeping Tiger (1954); Imbarco a Mezzanotte (1951); The Big Night (1951); M (1951); The Prowler (1951); The Lawless (1950); The Boy with Green Hair (1948)
Language: English
Format: DCP
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