Joseph Losey – The Servant (1963)

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Synopsis:

‘James Fox plays Tony, a wealthy, pampered, borderline-alcoholic young man with what appears to be a private income, sufficient for the purchase and redecoration of a townhouse in London’s South Kensington (the locale is similar to Polanski’s Repulsion) and for Tony to be involved in a rackety and fantastically implausible get-richer-quick scheme to clear the Brazilian rainforest for property development. To the profound irritation of his fiancee Susan (Wendy Craig), Tony hires a live-in manservant, Barrett, unforgettably played by Dirk Bogarde, to tend to his every bachelor need. Barrett instantly exerts a parasitic, vampiric influence on the household, smothering Tony with attention, getting subtly above himself, and displaying to Susan a studied air of dumb insolence. He induces Tony to hire his sister Vera, played by Sarah Miles, as the live-in maid, and secretly encourages Vera to seduce Tony. Later it transpires that the tale about Vera being his sister is a lie – and later still, that it might not be a lie after all.’
– Peter Bradshaw




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