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The Servant (1963)

 -  Drama  -  16 March 1964 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 5,089 users   Metascore: 93/100
Reviews: 52 user | 39 critic | 8 from Metacritic.com

The aristocratic Tony moves to London and hires the servant Hugo Barrett for all services at home. Barrett seems to be a loyal and competent employee, but Tony's girlfriend Susan does not ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Title: The Servant (1963)

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Won 3 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 7 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Vera
Wendy Craig ...
Susan
...
Tony
Catherine Lacey ...
Lady Mounset
Richard Vernon ...
Lord Mounset
Ann Firbank ...
Society Woman
Doris Nolan ...
Older Woman (as Doris Knox)
Patrick Magee ...
Bishop
Jill Melford ...
Younger Woman
Alun Owen ...
Curate
Harold Pinter ...
Society Man
Derek Tansley ...
Head Waiter
Brian Phelan ...
Man in Pub
Hazel Terry ...
Woman in Bedroom
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Storyline

The aristocratic Tony moves to London and hires the servant Hugo Barrett for all services at home. Barrett seems to be a loyal and competent employee, but Tony's girlfriend Susan does not like him and asks Tony to send him away. When Barrett brings his sister Vera to work and live in the house, Tony has a brief hidden affair with her. After traveling with Susan for spending a couple of days in a friend's house outside London, the couple unexpectedly returns and finds Barrett and Vera, who are actually lovers, in Tony's room. They are fired and Susan breaks with Tony. Later, Tony meets Barrett alone in a pub and hires him back, and Barrett imposes his real dark intentions in the house, turning the table and switching position with his master. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Terrifyingly Beautiful Motion Picture!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 March 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Diener  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$3,426 (USA) (23 August 2013)

Gross:

$35,748 (USA) (6 September 2013)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally planned as a film by a different director, Michael Anderson. It was he who commissioned Harold Pinter to write the script, in 1961. When Anderson dropped out of the project, Joseph Losey took over and insisted that Pinter's script be extensively rewritten. This led to what Losey claimed was their only quarrel in over twenty years of close friendship (but Pinter did do the rewrites). See more »

Goofs

When Tony and Susan arrive at Tony's house in the Mercedes, with an extended visit in mind, they both go into the house and Tony leaves the car's lights on. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Hugo Barrett: Excuse me, sir. My name is Barrett, sir.
Tony: Oh God, of course. I'm so sorry. I fell asleep. We've got an appointment.
Hugo Barrett: Yes, sir.
Tony: What time?
Hugo Barrett: 3'o clock, sir.
Tony: And what time is now?
Hugo Barrett: 3'o clock, sir.
Tony: Uh, it was too many beers at lunch, that's what it is. Do you drink beer?
Hugo Barrett: No. No, I don't sir.
[...]
See more »

Connections

References The Rules of the Game (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

All Gone
Music by John Dankworth
Lyrics by Harold Pinter
Performed by Cleo Laine
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Confusing, sexy and brilliant
16 November 2004 | by (London, UK) – See all my reviews

A super, confusing but entirely visceral experience, The Servant is a rich collaboration between Pinter (the writer) and Losey. Good performances from Fox and the doyenne of the slightly barmy 60's flick, Sarah Miles are mandatory in order to keep up with the entirely convincing theatrics of Dirk Bogarde's morally abstract butler, Barrett. Losey keeps everything claustrophobic: there's also an edginess through the stiltedness of set pieces - in restaurants and bars, and even in the Mounset's country pile. The only scene which seems comfortable is the snow(fight) sequence in which Susan and Tony affirm their love - and the moral height from which Tony must fall.

Bizarrely, the film is erotic for the first half but then simply frightening for the second, the drama wound around a single moral trajectory - downwards - throughout. We are engulfed from the start with open-ended sexual permissiveness and suggestion, which runs alongside the class divide whose tension drives the drama to the same degree. In the final scenes I couldn't remove Berg's opera on Wedekind's play Lulu from my mind, given the sax-fronted jazz of John Dankworth colliding awkwardly with a simultaneous orchestral score. It's just a brilliant, original film - analysis resistant, but entirely absorbing nonetheless 8/10


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Funniest line in The Servant... BillyFisher
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Now while I love you... alone Shilpot7
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