I. The Servant (1963)
Directed by Joseph Losey, The Servant is considered by some to be one of the finest British films. It tells of Tony (James Fox), a flamboyant member of the upper class, who has just moved in to his central London residence after a period spent in Africa. He immediately hires a man-servant for himself, demure, respectful and knowledgeable Hugo Barrett (Dirk Bogarde). Hugo not only knows how to cook and take care of a house, but he is also an expert interior decorator and has been a gentleman’s servant for many notable Lordships. This tale of a friction between the upstairs and the downstairs reaches the zenith of tension when Hugo introduces “his sister” (Sarah Miles) to the household and when Tony’s own fiancée (Susan Stewart) decides to make the house her own dominion. The Servant works delightfully as a satire on class differences and servitude, showing a thin line that often separates usefulness from a nuisance, and kindness from submissiveness. This tale of hidden corruption has a frightening change of dynamics.
Continue reading “Recently Watched: Films: The Servant (1963), A Kiss Before Dying (1956) & Isle of the Dead (1945)”
1. “The Bonfire of the Vanities” by Tom Wolfe
This 1987 book really is a modern classic; full of wit, satire and gripping narrative twirls. The book really epitomises everything that the 1980s stood for in the US, and was a giant critical success, becoming a bestseller. The hero here is one Sherman McCoy, a highly-paid Wall Street bond trader and a self-proclaimed “Master of the Universe”, who has it all, until one day, similar to his antecedent in “The Great Gatsby”, one accident ensures his dramatic fall from grace.
What, then, do we have by way of a film adaptation? An almost meaningless and very unfaithful adaptation titled, as the novel, “The Bonfire of the Vanities” (1990), which was neither funny (as was intended) nor convincing. Director Brian De Palma went for a black comedy effect, instead of a sumptuous drama, and crafted an atrocious film where the majority of the actors were also miscast.
Continue reading “5 Books that Deserved Better Film Adaptations”
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Adapted from a novel by Ira Levin and directed by Roman Polanski, ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ is a psychological horror movie which can now be regarded as a cult classic of the horror genre. The centre of the story is a young couple – Guy and Rosemary Woodhouse (John Cassavetes and Mia Farrow). After the couple’s move to Bramford, a gothic complex of apartment buildings in New York, strange occurrences begin to take place, and their elderly neighbours’ friendliness becomes too suspicious. When Rosemary gets pregnant, suspicions about people around her start to escalate, and the final question becomes: what is the truth here, and what is just a figment of her imagination?
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