The Servant
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Wealthy wastrel James Fox hires insouciant cockney Dirk Bogarde as a valet. No sooner has he donned his working clothes than Bogarde begins exercising a subtle but insidious control over his master. Suggesting that the house could use a little fixing up, Bogarde convinces Fox to spend a whopping amount of money on it. But this is just a warm-up session for Bogarde, who by mid-film is calling all the shots in the Fox household, all the while pretending to keep his place. Fox's fiance Wendy Craig sees through Bogarde's game. Bogarde then brings his own lady friend Sarah Miles into the… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Glaciers might be melting, the polar caps might be crumbling, but not even the passage of half a century has taken the frozen edge off this brilliantly icy film."
‑ Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"The performances are note-perfect and Pinter's script is smart, subversive and sly, lifting the lid on our age-old feudal hierarchy and having a good dig about inside."
‑ Tom Huddleston, Time Out
"Losey's ripping comedy of breakdown, a master class in ominous mise-en-scène"
‑ Fernando F. Croce, CinePassion
"Essentially a two-hander, with Fox admirable as a latter-day Sebastian Flyte and Bogarde (finally nailing his matinée reputation) chilling as the mercenary valet."
‑ David Parkinson, Radio Times
"Losey's use of off-kilter camera angles and an ornamental convex mirror helps to emphasise the stifling architecture of the building while offering eerie portents of things to come."
‑ David Jenkins, Little White Lies
"A perfect storm of perversity, pre-Persona identity transference, prole pole-positioning and mutually assured psychological destruction, Joseph Losey's masterpiece immediately transformed the director from has-been Hollywood exile to European auteur."
‑ David Fear, Time Out New York
"It is a flesh-creeping demonstration of human destructiveness that Mr. Pinter and Mr. Losey are presenting in this film, and it is made all the more horrifying by the genteel surroundings in which it occurs."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"The film's sidelong narrative glances suggest a privileged world brimming with innuendo-laden excess and barely concealed sexual jealousies."
‑ Matthew Connolly, Slant Magazine
"Claustrophobic film-making carries a charge it's not easy to forget. Only Pinter could match it."
‑ Derek Malcolm, This is London
"Losey creates an atmosphere of deepening claustrophobic menace shot through with episodes of savage black humour."
‑ Philip Kemp, Total Film
"The Servant is for the most part strong dramatic fare, though the atmosphere and tension is not fully sustained to the end."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"The film is very studied and smooth, even though it deals in sexual hysteria; it could use some of the roughness and drive of Losey's early work."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"From the first frame it's clear we're about to see a masterpiece."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"It is a brilliant, subversive account of class relations and the changing times."
‑ Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
"Slight comedy based on the antics of a group of naughty Brit medical students at a London hospital."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
More reviews for The Servant on Rotten Tomatoes