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The Go-Between (1971)

GP | | Drama, Romance | 1 October 1971 (UK)
A tale of torrid and forbidden love between a couple in the English countryside.

Director:

Joseph Losey

Writers:

Harold Pinter (screenplay), L.P. Hartley (based on the novel: "The Go-Between" by)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Julie Christie ... Marian - Lady Trimingham
Alan Bates ... Ted Burgess
Margaret Leighton ... Mrs. Maudsley
Michael Redgrave ... Leo Colston
Dominic Guard ... Leo
Michael Gough ... Mr. Maudsley
Edward Fox ... Hugh Trimingham
Richard Gibson ... Marcus
Simon Hume-Kendall Simon Hume-Kendall ... Denys
Roger Lloyd Pack ... Charles
Amaryllis Garnett Amaryllis Garnett ... Kate (as Amaryllis Garnet)
Keith Buckley ... Stubbs
John Rees John Rees ... Blunt
Gordon Richardson Gordon Richardson ... Rector
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Storyline

Summer 1900: Queen Victoria's last, and the summer Leo turns thirteen. He's the guest of Marcus, a wealthy classmate, at a grand house in rural Norfolk. Leo is befriended by Marian, Marcus' twenty-something sister, a beauty about to be engaged to Hugh, a viscount and good fellow. Marian buys Leo a forest-green suit, takes him on walks, and asks him to carry messages to and from their neighbor, Ted Burgess, a bit of a rake. Leo is soon dissembling, realizes he's betraying Hugh, but continues as the go-between nonetheless, asking adults naive questions about the attractions of men and women. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Those were the innocent days, but the summer ended with a storm. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 October 1971 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Budbäraren See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

EMI Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gary Warren was interviewed for the role of Marcus. See more »

Goofs

It has been reported by sharp-eyed viewers that in the Tombland scene in Norwich, there is a shop window behind the action which reflects an image of the camera crew. See more »

Quotes

Leo: Thank you very much Mr. Burgess, is there anything I can do for you?
See more »

Connections

Remade as The Go-Between (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Angels, Ever Bright and Fair
(1749) (uncredited)
From the Oratorio "Theodora"
Music by George Frideric Handel
Words by Thomas Morell
Performed by Dominic Guard
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Another Pinter-Losey Masterpiece
13 November 2016 | by kijiiSee all my reviews

This movie is the third joint venture paring writer Harold Pinter and director Joseph Losey. The other two are The Servant (1963), and Accident (1967). This venture, combined with a top-notch cast, makes for a great film: No. 56 of the BFI's Top 100. Yet sadly, the movie has not been restored, in its original aspect ratio for DVD, and I had to see it on VHS in the full screen pan-and scan version.

I've a feeling that this is one of those films that MUST be seen in its original wide screen format, since the photography of the English countryside setting is crucial to the movie, and anything less does not tell the movie's whole story!

Michael Redgrave tells the story, in retrospect. It begins as a 12-year- old boy, Leo (Dominic Guard), comes to spend the summer of 1900 at a large English country estate. He is a guest there, and his relationship to the family is never made clear. We don't learn much about his background except what we overhear: that his mother is a widow from the city. As he is introduced at the family dinner table, he tells them that he knows magic and has conjured up curses on people, but this seems a game between him and the other boy his age on the estate, Marcus.

As the two boys play, the rest of Marcus' family starts to emerge as Marcus tells Leo about them while pointing them out. We view their lazy hot summer's life as they attempt to occupy themselves with conversation, nature, art, culture, and games. Leo attempts to fit in with the family led by its matriarch, Mrs. Maudsley (Margaret Leighton). Leo also becomes attracted to Marus' older sister, Marian (Julie Christie), and develops a puppy love for her. (At one point he proclaims that he would do almost anything for her.) She, in turn, shows an admiration for him.

One day as the family goes out for a swim, they encounter their lower- class neighbor, Ted Burgess (Alan Bates), who is trespassing on their property by swimming in their lake. Leo later meets Ted and is gradually taken into his confidence. At Ted's coaxing, he starts to secretly deliver notes to Marian, and she, in turn, returns notes to Ted, through Leo.

Feeling 'out of the loop,' Leo wants to know more. He eventually asks Ted to tell him about sex ('spooning'). At almost thirteen and with no father to guide him, Leo has never been told the facts of life. Yet, he senses that he should know more and that Ted will explain it to him-- though he never really does. When Marian becomes engaged to an upper- class gentleman, Ted seems displeased. However, after a brief break off in communications; Ted and Marian begin their secret exchanges again with Leo still acting as their dutiful Mercury-like 'go-between.' Then, on Leo's thirteenth birthday, he suddenly learns the shocking nature of his carried missives.

This film, accented by Michel Legrand's score, has a mysterious, almost Gothic, feel about it. There seems to be something always missing, just out of view, waiting to be discovered. But, just as Leo is never made part of the secret, neither is the audience--until the surprising ending.


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