1963. Great Britain. Joseph Losey. 112 min.
Thursday, April 24, 2008, 8:30 p.m.
Theater 2 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2), T2
1963. Great Britain. Directed by Joseph Losey. Screenplay by Harold Pinter. Music by John Dankworth. With Dirk Bogarde, Edward Fox, Sarah Miles, Wendy Craig. Losey and Pinter's masterpiece is an intense, baroque chamber drama that pits master against manservant—with their women enlisted as coconspirators—to uncover what lies beneath all that elegant English decorum and décor: the human will to destroy and be destroyed. The film is structured in discreet patterns of four to chart this exquisite descent into madness and degradation: the ménage à quatre, with its ever-shifting alliances; the four stages of the Georgian townhouse's interior decoration; and Dankworth's musical theme, which evolves in four passages from the sentimental to the darkly atonal. Dankworth alternates between string and saxophone quartets to give The Servant, his finest score, what Losey biographer David Caute calls "a haunting quality of hedonism and lament." 112 min.