The Servant -1963-


Directed by Joseph Losey. 116 mins.

Worth my time? Yes. (Seen at Laemmle’s Royal Theater, West LA)

Holy smokes, was this movie all sorts of tense, tingly fun. The Servant is the first Losey film I’ve seen – I was vaguely aware of the guy, but he’s been under a lot of peoples’ radars since he was blacklisted some fifty-odd years ago. Now I gotta make up for lost time and gobble up the rest of his filmography.

The Servant is hearty stew of genres – it’s written like a melodrama (Harold Pinter is responsible for the wonderfully misanthropic screenplay), paced like a thriller, and shot like a noir (Losey did lots of noirs during the American part of his career, including an English-language re-make of Fritz Lang’s M). The entire cast has an amazing chemistry between them – maybe the purest concoction of sex and passive aggression I’ve ever seen. The titular Servant (Dirk Bogarde) is a world-class schemer, and I couldn’t look away as he played the other characters (Sarah Miles, Wendy Craig, James Fox) like old accordions.

Well, I probably looked away once or twice. The film could stand to be fifteen minutes shorter, but it didn’t damper the viewing experience much.

Aside: In the best possible way, this is the gayest film I’ve seen all year.

(Seen on 2013-09-01, written on 2013-09-04)