Sunday, 17 March 2013

Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 83: Sun Mar 24

The Servant (Losey, 1963): Curzon Soho, 2.45pm
This promises to be a special afternoon with cast members James Fox, Wendy Craig and Sarah Miles attending a Q&A after the film. The Servant will also get an extended run at BFI Southabnk. See here for details.

Here is the Curzon's introduction: Join us for a special screening of Joseph Losey’s The Servant, which marked the start of what became one of the most potent creative partnerships of British 1960s cinema. Losey and acclaimed playwright-turned-screenwriter Harold Pinter united to create a disturbing tale of seduction, sexual and social tension and psychological control. Acclaimed director/actor Richard Ayoade (Submarine, The IT Crowd) will introduce the screening, which will be followed by a post-screening discussion with cast members James Fox, Wendy Craig and Sarah Miles. The discussion will be moderated by Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw.

If you want to read an excellent article on the film I can recommend John Patterson's in the Guardian Guide here.

He writes: "Joseph Losey kicked off the 1960s proper with The Servant, an absolutely pivotal movie that exactly caught the spirit of the age as the country shook itself awake after the long frigid winter of 1962-3 and emerged, blinking and disoriented, into the torpid hothouse atmosphere surrounding the Profumo affair.

The story of an aristocrat (James Fox) taken in by his machiavellian manservant (Dirk Bogarde), its themes of working-class insurgency, upper-class degeneracy and mutually destructive, sexually-driven power-games – already hallmarks of the stage work of first-time screenwriter, Harold Pinter – not to mention a notorious scene that seems to depict incest between a supposed brother and sister, dovetailed in the popular mind with the emerging sex-and-spy scandal whose fumes would finally waft the Conservative party out of power in 1964.

The Servant was also perhaps the most baroquely stylised movie made in the United Kingdom since the heyday of Powell & Pressburger a decade earlier, but with Powell's optimistic high-Tory stylistic flourishes replaced by Losey's avowedly pessimistic Marxist mannerisms, or, as I prefer to think of them, his mise-in-sane."

Here is the trailer.

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