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The Servant (1963)

 -  Drama  -  16 March 1964 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 4,919 users   Metascore: 93/100
Reviews: 51 user | 36 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

When Joseph Losey was hospitalized for two weeks during this shoot, Dirk Bogarde continued filming assisted by minute, daily instructions over the phone from Losey's hospital bed. When Losey returned to the set he did not re-shoot any of the script, much to the relief of cast and crew. See more »

Goofs

When Barrett first enters the house, Tony takes his legs down twice before standing up. 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

 
Perfect portrait of class warfare
6 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

While this little known British classic has been badly neglected for the last thirty years or so, it shouldn't be; it is one of the most expertly realized portraits of British class warfare ever. Aside from Bogarde's (obviously) letter perfect portrayal of a sinister lower class valet with some ugly designs on his upper crust victim (well played also, by James Fox, who came to specialize in similar roles), one scene in particular stands out, and underlines beautifully the whole film's entire message. When Fox's aristocratic girlfriend (played by Wendy Craig) comes to visit, she has an amazing encounter with Bogarde. She suspects he's moving in on her boyfriend, ready to replace her in his affections. She imperiously orders him into the front room, abruptly quizzing him for his opinions on just about everything. She isn't concerned with his answers-she just enjoys ordering him around, Queen Victoria style. The effect is stunning-Bogarde clearly wants to strangle the bitch, but must restrain himself, he's only the servant after all. But he's still a man, and will get his revenge soon enough. The whole upper class system will be turned on its head. The resolution (if it can be called that) is not totally satisfying. In fact, it seems just as confused just and messy as life itself is.

Some reviewers have stated that Ms. Craig was miscast as the classy girlfriend. Not so-as she imperiously and hatefully orders the helpless servant around, her face and voice become a hateful mask of the arrogance and cruelty of British snobbery. A minor classic of its kind, somewhat dated, but still relevant and brilliantly filmed in moody black and white, and Bogarde's best moments on film.


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