The Servant (Joseph Losey, 1963)

The Criterion Collection, a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films presents The Servant.

criterion logoBritish class distinctions are abused and upended in Joseph Losey’s adaptation of Robin Maugham’s 1963 short novella, where Tony (James Fox), a rich, ineffectual Oxford bachelor, is gradually debased by the insidious influence of his newly hired manservant, Hugo Barrett (Dirk Bogarde).  Despite the suspicions of Tony’s girlfriend Susan (Wendy Craig) and her opposition Hugo’s constant presence, Tony’s servant ingratiates himself to his naïve employer and becomes an indispensable facet of Tony’s lifestyle, all while slowly subjugating his employer through subtle manipulation.  This superb, shadowy study of brooding decadence and corruption features the claustrophic cinematography of Douglas Slocombe, the uneasy jazz score of John Dankworth, and marks the first of three cinematic collaborations between Losey and celebrated playwright and screenwriter Harold Pinter.

Disc Features:

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Introduction by experimental electronic musicians Matmos
  • Interview with actor James Fox by actor-director Richard Ayoade
  • Interviews with actors Wendy Craig and Sarah Miles, producer-director Stephen Woolley, Pinter-associate Harry Burton, and Dirk Bogarde biographer John Coldstream
  • New interview with scholar Amy Sargeant on the design and context of The Servant
  • Audio interview with cinematographer Douglas Slocombe
  • Interview of screenwriter Harold Pinter from the 1965 British television show Tempo
  • Archival interview with Joseph Losey on The Servant
  • Excepts from the 1963 television show Camera Three featuring Losey, filmmaker Adolfas Mekas, New York Film Festival director Amos Vogel, and festival organizer Richard Roud
  • Stills gallery
  • Theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: Booklet with essay by Peter Bradshaw and the 1948 novella by Robin Maugham

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