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The Servant (1963)

Unrated | | Drama, Romance | 16 March 1964 (USA)
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 »

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)

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Won 3 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 5 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Director: Joseph Losey
Stars: Alain Delon, Jeanne Moreau, Francine Bergé
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Vera
...
Susan
...
Tony
...
Lady Mounset
...
Lord Mounset
...
Society Woman
...
Older Woman (as Doris Knox)
...
Bishop
Jill Melford ...
Younger Woman
Alun Owen ...
Curate
...
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 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. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

subtly, fascinatingly...corruption by corruption...the servant becomes master... See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. 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
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User Reviews

 
Power Plays
9 January 2004 | by (Cleveland, Ohio) – See all my reviews

About midpoint Tony's girlfriend Susan asks servant Hugo, "What do you want from this house?" It's a direct and pointed question that's ambiguously answered ("I'm just the servant, mum.")

That ambiguity carries the dramatic tension along its murky but intriguing path, as a strange play of power and manipulation unfolds. Yet after a series of quirkly developments transpire and the tables of manservant and master are reversed, what's the real gain?

What was there in the house in the first place that was worth all the fuss and bother to acquire? Satisfaction of taking over the master role?

Whatever the goal, it all seems a tawdry victory. After the shoe's on the other foot and a few points are scored in this cheesy power game, where's the spoil?

What does drive this drama is Pinter's genius for inventing small talk that gives the illusion of grandeur Losey's direction is right on the mark, and the production design, score, photography--and the acting--are all top drawer.

As in his subversive play, "The Homecoming," Pinter manages to hold the attention with his unique pregnant pauses and hypnotic ambiance, which are actually illusionary. It could be a play about something very important or about nothing.

One thing is for certain: once "The Servant" is seen, one never quite forgets it.

This remains Dirk Bogarde's defining cinematic role.




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