The Servant (1963) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • An upper-class man hires a servant who turns out to have a hidden agenda.

  • 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 and 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.

  • Professional servant Barrett (played by Dirk Bogarde) is hired by a wealthy young man, Tony (Edward Fox), as his man-servant. Initially Barrett is the ideal man-servant - quiet, loyal, submissive, unquestioning and very helpful. However, over time the shine wears off and he reveals more of his true self, and it's far from submissive. Moreover, with time the master-servant dynamic starts to shift.

  • This film takes a sharp look at British class relations via a dramatic turning of the tables between a dainty Oxbridge twit bachelor and his contemptuous manservant. The servant slowly realizes and exploits his expanding powers over his "master" as the twit steadily loses his authority and becomes enslaved to his own "employee".


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