The Servant – Il servo di J. Losey

The servant (1963) – directed and produced by Joseph Losey –  is about Tony, a wealthy young Londoner. He employs Hugo Barrett (interpreted by Dirk Bogard) as his manservant. Initially, they get on well (vanno d’accordo), maintaining their social roles (mantenedo i loro ruoli). The relationship begins to change when Tony’s girlfriend Susan starts being suspicious of Barrett and to hate (odiare) all what he  represents. Barrett introduces  Vera (Sarah Miles) into Tony’s household. She is thought (si pensa) Vera is Hugo’s sister  and she becomes the maidservant (cameriera). Soon it comes out (si scopre)  that Vera is actually (in realtà) Barrett’s lover. The couple starts to machinate against Susan and Tony, till their roles are reversed (rovesciati) – the “master” and the “servant” exchange roles: Tony becomes more and more dissipated, sinking further (sprofondando sempre più) and at the end Tony has become wholly (totalmente) dependent on Barrett and Susan is exiled permanently from the house. Losey analysis the degradation, the lust (lussuria), the hypocrisy, and the ennui (noia) of the  privileged and  educated middle class fusing naturalism and expressionism in a Baroque style. His sophisticated construction of cinematic time and narrative perspective (prospettiva narrativa) – voice over  (narrazione esterna)-  use of montage and of musical score (colonna sonora) lead this Losey’ work in the direction of neorealist cinema.The film was adapted by Harold Pinter (1930 – 2008) from the novel by Lord Robin Maugham (1916 – 1981).