Losey and Pinter locate the pain that lurks deep within complacency, and the film positively throbs with it.



A country home on a warm summer night; the sound of a sickening car crash; a startled horse; a white-clad woman with a feathery boa; a curious dog. A long Sunday that begins with guests, expected and unexpected, arriving for lunch, and then staying for supper, and then overnight; interspersed with clumsy tennis, near-silent walks through an idyllic countryside, drinkers upending their beer glasses to clear for the whiskey, and... “What room is everybody in?” A wispy, dreamlike reunion with an old flame, with the dialogue done in voiceover. Oxford don Dirk Bogarde’s mid-life crisis, struggling with the tensions, rivalries, lusts and distrusts shared with his students Michael York and Jacqueline Sassard, pregnant wife Vivien Merchant, and unpleasant bespectacled colleague Stanley Baker. Following The Servant, eventual Nobel laureate Harold Pinter’s second Joseph Losey collaboration, ruthlessly eschewing exposition in adapting a novel by Nicholas Mosley, son of British fascist leader Oswald.

“A CLEVERLY BARBED COMEDY OF DEPRAVITY! Losey and Pinter use sexual desperation amid the beauty of Oxford in summertime to make our flesh crawl... with virtuoso passages of calculated meanness and, as the centerpiece, a long, drunken Sunday party, with people sitting down to supper when they’re too soused to eat. As a weakling philosophy don, Bogarde goes through his middle-aged-frustration specialty brilliantly, gripping his jaw to stop a stutter or folding his arms to keep his hands out of trouble.”
– Pauline Kael

“PUT TOGETHER AS CAREFULLY AS HITCHOCK! Losey establishes the mood by a series of low-key performances and a very quiet camera style. The plot depends on coincidences, timing and the resources available in the limited Oxford world. But it is also recognizably a work of Pinter in the way the story is revealed backwards, in scenes that are jigsawed together to make an emotional continuity instead of a straightforward story line.”
– Roger Ebert

“Foresakes the swinging, mini-skirted metropolis for an examination of moral lassitude and contained passions among the dreaming spires and cardigan-wearing dons of Oxford academia... [with] an interesting friction in the varied stylized realism of the performances (not least that between Bogarde and Baker), top-notch color cinematography by Gerry Fisher, an intriguing use of sound (jazzman John Dankworth’s saxy score, disrupted by the soundtrack’s banal clicking clocks or offscreen passing ambulances), all darkened by the discomforting sharpness of Losey’s foreigner’s eye.”
– Wally Hammond, Time Out (London)
Not Rated
Drama, Crime
Joseph Losey
Dirk Bogarde, Stanley Baker
Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York

Beloved by those who cherish scrappy survivors, Joseph Losey managed to make some dazzlingly off-kilter films, both in Hollywood (1948’s subversive The Boy with Green Hair) and in his adopted England after he was blacklisted. Three projects from his European rebound were collaborations with the ...

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