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Critic Reviews for The Servant
The film on its most meaningful level is acid splashed into the wound of class distinction. But it is best enjoyed simply as a slick, spooky, frequently spellbinding study of corruption.
Even at his worst Losey is never dull, and here he is pretty consistently at his best.
The viewer is left with not only a portrait of the haves and the have-nots, but a glimpse of what such social stratification provokes -- an all-consuming madness as powerful as it is hidden.
Losey does masterly work in confined spaces, and Bogarde's performance as the scheming servant sets the standard for sly corruption.
With Losey exiled from America by the Hollywood blacklist, and Pinter the bristling voice of young London, the film has the glee of outsiders mid-gatecrash.April 8, 2020 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
Glaciers might be melting, the polar caps might be crumbling, but not even the passage of half a century has taken the frozen edge off this brilliantly icy film.August 29, 2013 | Full Review…
Audience Reviews for The Servant
Oct 04, 2012Even if the acting and ideas are good, The Servant left me quite confused. In the first half of the film, a man-servant named Barrett gets hired by a snobby and rude guy named Tony. By the time the 2nd half of the film rolls around, both of their personalities have suddenly changed and there's a big and confusing love quadrangle being tossed around. The pacing is the biggest turn-off here, which doesn't go well with such a strange film.Kevin M Super Reviewer
Feb 10, 2011This is a superb, sinister movie of the very highest class. Unlike the character Tony (James Fox) who is upper class without being high class, if you get my drift. You cannot really sympathise with Tony, who toys with some high falutin' development projects but basically is a wastrel just waiting to be ponced off. Tony is a later-day Bertie Wooster. The sinister element comes from the servant (Dirk Bogarde), who is no Jeeves. Barrett, like Jeeves , is a gentleman's gentleman or valet (not a butler as suggested in some other comments on this film). Tony needs a valet because he is incapable of doing anything much without help. Barrett and his accomplice Vera (Sarah Miles) take Tony to the cleaners, sweeping aside the fiancee Susan (Wendy Craig) in their wake. Harold Pinter has written the screenplay in similar vein to the superb movie The Accident, also a Losey piece, which I also commend. The cinematography in both movies is simply excellent. The subject matter of The Servant suits Pinter, although much of the screenplay is not really in Pinter's voice. However, there is one scene, set in a restaurant, which includes a tiny cameo by Pinter himself and which contains a short Pinteresque exchange between two women. There is also one tense exchange between Susan and Barrett "do you wear deodorant" etc. which is very reminiscent of a scene in The Caretaker "you stink from arsehole to Thursday" etc. Indeed the story of The Servant resembles The Caretaker in many respects, except that in The Servant the interloper, Barrett, is on top and stays there, whereas in The Caretaker the interloper, Davies, lacks the skill and circumstances to dislodge the incumbent. There is a homoerotic undercurrent to the film and this works so well because it is an undercurrent (in 1963 there could have been no more than an undercurrent even if they had wanted more). The overt debauchery with Vera and the orgy party towards the end of the film is the only bit of the film that has aged without grace. But I quibble. This is a truly great film and it deserves to be more widely known.Cassandra M Super Reviewer
Feb 07, 2011"The Servant" (most noted for it's collaboration between play write Harold Pinter and Director Joseph Losey and for Dirk Bogarde's BAFTA winning performance) is a bit to elusive to truly engage, but it's intoxicating photography, subtly creepy performances and enough homoerotic psychosexual mind games to fill three films, nearly make up for it. It's ending however seems almost too straightforward for it's twisty beginning and middle, but it at least gives you something to think about when it's over. "The Servant" is a dense film, and one that will engage anyone looking for a good mind game.Steven C Super Reviewer
Nov 25, 2010Let's play master and servant! A subtly twisted trademark Pinter screenplay. Collaboration with Joseph Losey for direction. Bogarde in a polished, sinister, homoerotic role. Film making doesn't get much better than this.Stefanie C Super Reviewer
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