Accident 1967

director: Joseph Losey  


Genre

Country

Great Britain

Cast

Synopsis

Joseph Losey, who made a memorably destructive foray into English class hatreds in The Servant, is partnered again with screenwriter Harold Pinter in this acerbic study of love and jealousy among the dons of Oxford. Critics in 1967 called it his most intellectually exciting and absorbing film to date. Like a surgeon removing scar tissue, he takes apart two different kinds of men each of whom loves the same girl. Dirk Bogarde falls in love with his college student (Jacqueline Sassard) with the guilty self-loathing of a man married to a tea-trolley-wife (Vivien Merchant); Stanley Baker pursues the girl with a bright-eyed pride of a natural predator whose own wife is a tame, domesticated type. Just as a comment on the unsatisfactory nature of English married life, this film has a swingeing savagery. But it has more. Like a meteorite, Pinter's script buries itself under the surface of people and events and pulses with destructive energy while leaving everything seemingly undisturbed at ground level. In rivalry with both of the older men is a blond, blue-blooded student, a sprig of the landed gentry, played by Michael York. It is his death in an 'accident' that springs the trap of guilt, remorse and thwarted sexual ambition omn all concerned. Scene after scene contains it prickly revelations. In a long sequence directed and written with fiendish brilliance, a typical lazy English Sunday luncheon turns into a hundred little acts of murder in the heart and thoughts as the characters' jealousies get wound up to snapping point. In a funnier vein, Baker's ambitions to become a television personality get flattened by Harold Pinter in person, playing a network producer. In a scene that transposes time with Proustian sleight-of-hand, Delphine Seyrig and Bogarde enjoy a love-dialogue that, paradoxically, is like a silent reverie. And the revelation of a new side to Stanley Baker's talents alone makes Accident a landmark movie. ALEXANDER WALKER

Other Releases

Formats

Available on VHSAvailable on Betamax

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Distributor Thorn EMI
Catalogue Number TVB 900004 2
Release Series
Release Date April 1982
Duration:
Printed Classification
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