Drama | English | 115 minutes
Wealthy Londoner Tony moves into his town house while it’s undergoing a major renovation. He hires Hugo Barrett to be his manservant. Tony is pleased as Barrett immediately takes charge and even offers suggestions about the renovation. When Susan Stewart, Tony’s fiancée visits, she immediately becomes suspicious of Barrett. Anxious to bring his lover, Vera, into the house, Barrett convinces Tony to hire her as a maid, telling Tony that Vera is his sister. The devious Barrett also has Vera seduce Tony. When Tony and Vera return from vacation, they are furious when they see Barrett and Vera together in bed. Barrett not only tells Tony he and Vera are not siblings, but Barrett tells Susan that Tony is having an affair with Vera. Susan leaves the house in a huff. Barrett convinces Tony that he should be re-hired and Tony agrees. But the relationship changes radically; the roles are reversed as Barrett takes control of the household as Tony becomes totally subservient.
Dirk Bogarde (Hugo Barrett) / James Fox (Tony) / Sarah Miles (Vera) / Wendy Craig (Susan Stewart)
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes (Critics Consensus): 90%
- Metacritic Score: 94
- BAFTA Awards: Winner, Best British Actor (Dirk Bogarde); Best Cinematography- Black and White (Douglas Slocombe)
- Cahiers du Cinéma: Nominated, Best Film
- New York Film Critics Circle Awards: Winner, Best Screenplay (Harold Pinter); Nominated, Best Actor (Dirk Bogarde)
- Writers’ Guild of Great Britain: Winner, Best Dramatic Screenplay (Harold Pinter)
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Sex shame and class shame crucially combine in Joseph Losey’s masterly psychological satire. It is a brilliant, subversive account of class relations and the changing times.
If you think the Profumo scandals shed a seamy and shocking light on what is said to be a rather crumbling of the British upper crust, wait until you see THE SERVANT. Although it is fiction, it wafts a thick and acrid air of smoldering truth.
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