Joseph Losey – The Go-Between (1970)

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Quote:
This 1971 adaptation of L.P. Hartley’s novel was the third and final collaboration between Joseph Losey and Harold Pinter, and is often seen as the least successful.

It is the story of a young boy, Leo (Dominic Guard), who spends a hot summer holiday with his friend Marcus’ (Richard Gibson) upper-class family at their country house, unwittingly becoming embroiled in a forbidden love affair between the daughter and a local farmer. The Go-Between mirrors several of the themes of Losey and Pinter’s previous projects, The Servant (1963) and Accident (1967). Dwelling on themes of class, loss of innocence and our relationship to the past, the novel is well suited to Losey’s cold, detached style and Pinter’s subtle, allusive language. Continue reading

Joseph Losey – Secret Ceremony (1968)

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Synopsis:

Leonora, a prostitute, mourns the death by drowning years earlier of her daughter. She encounters a strange waif-like girl, Cenci, who bears a strong resemblance to her lost child. Cenci is herself struck by the great resemblance of Leonora to her own mother, whose death the mentally unstable Cenci has been unable to accept or even acknowledge. The two women quickly develop a symbiotic relationship, moving in and out of the illusion that each is the lost loved one of the other. The complicating factor is the arrival of Albert, Cenci’s stepfather, whose incestuous attachment to her may well be the cause of her mind’s unbalance. With Albert’s arrival, no one in the strange trio is safe. Continue reading

Joseph Losey – A Doll’s House (1973)

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IMDb plot summary wrote:
Nora Helmer has years earlier committed a forgery in order to save the life of her authoritarian husband Torvald. Now she is being blackmailed and lives in fear of her husband’s finding out and of the shame such a revelation would bring to his career. But when the truth comes out, Nora is shocked to learn where she really stands in her husband’s esteem.

TV Guide wrote:
Okay adaptation of Ibsen’s classic play features a stunning performance by Howard and talented direction by Losey, but Fonda is not an actress of sufficient talent to carry such a difficult role. A graceful production overall is enriched by some overwhelming shots of Norway, both indoors and out. Continue reading

Joseph Losey – Monsieur Klein (1976)

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How can state-sponsored bigotry destroy the life of an “ordinary” citizen, one whose heritage should exempt him from such policies? The eponymous Mr. Klein (Alain Delon), a suave, single, wealthy Parisian art dealer, finds out. It’s 1942, the Nazis have occupied Paris, and Jews are being arrested and shipped to Germany. The lucky ones obtain false passports and flee the country. Robert Klein, whose family has been “French and Catholic since Louis XIV,” is taking advantage of the situation by buying up Jewish family heirlooms at rock-bottom prices. Then one morning a Jewish newspaper appears on his doorstep, addressed to Robert Klein. The fact that he received mail intended for another Parisian Robert Klein–this one a Jew–must be a simple mistake. But is it?
Mr. Klein becomes obsessed with finding his Jewish alter ego, finally falling into a trap from which it is impossible to escape. Directed by Joseph Losey, who confronted prejudice in The Boy with Green Hair, and written by Franco Solinas, coauthor with Costa-Gavras of such classics of political intrigue as State of Siege, Mr. Klein is haunting and suspenseful: an exciting thriller with real substance. (-Laura Mirsky – Editorial Reviews – Amazon.com) Continue reading

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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