Combustible Celluloid
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With: Dirk Bogarde, Sarah Miles, Wendy Craig, James Fox, Catherine Lacey, Richard Vernon, Ann Firbank, Doris Knox, Patrick Magee, Jill Melford, Alun Owen, Harold Pinter, Derek Tansley, Brian Phelan, Hazel Terry
Written by: Harold Pinter, based on a novel by Robin Maugham
Directed by: Joseph Losey
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 115
Date: 09/01/1963

The Servant (1963)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Butler Fingers

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Joseph Losey's The Servant is a masterful cat and mouse game between two characters -- a butler and his master -- that the BBC recently chose as one of the 100 great British films ever made. Scripted by the incomparable Harold Pinter, the film takes place almost entirely within the house, and Losey makes beautiful use of deep, angular black-and-white photography, and especially mirrors. Dirk Bogarde, with whom Losey worked five times, steals the film as Barrett, the servant, while James Fox plays the hapless master. It ends with a psychedelic (but tasteful) orgy scene. Anchor Bay has also released Losey's highly-regarded Accident, but it's only available in the three-disc Dirk Bogarde box set ($39.98, with The Servant and Basil Dearden's The Mind Benders).

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