The Servant (1963)

JOSEPH LOSEY

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5

United Kingdom, 1963Elstree Distributors, Springbok Productions.  Screenplay by , based on the novel by .  Cinematography by . Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .

Joseph Losey’s superb production stars  as a butler who insinuates himself into the life of a carefree playboy () and proceeds to slowly take over his household. After Bogarde moves his sister (Sarah Miles) in as parlor maid, the two of them wreak havoc on the place until Fox kicks them out for their disrespectful behaviour. Time passes, however, and the dapper gentleman finds he can’t live without his trusted manservant, leading to his eventual moral demise. This excellent treatise on the rigid class system of Great Britain is compelling, brilliantly written (by Harold Pinter) and beautifully shot in murky black and white. The performances are all top-drawer, especially the unforgettable Bogarde, who has never been more subtly disquieting.

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