Self-consciously ‘modern’ when it was released, this study of class power and sexual desire starred James Fox as upper-class twit, Tony, and Dirk Bogarde as Barrett, his gentleman’s gentleman.
Harold Pinter wrote the script for this absorbing and effective study of a man’s descent into decadence based on a 1948 novella by Robin Maugham.
Bogarde gives one of his finest performances as the obsequious and corrupt manservant who slowly and insidiously becomes the master of his employer in his newly acquired Chelsea home.
James Fox also does a remarkable job as the initially arrogant but basically weak master.
Bogarde and Fox are well supported by Sarah Miles as the predatory waif, infiltrated into Fox’s house by Bogarde as Pinter’s contest of seduction and dictatorship moves to its bleak conclusion.
The film also features Wendy Craig, Catherine Lacey and Patrick Magee.
Vanessa Redgrave was originally cast to play Susan but was forced to retire from the production due to her pregnancy.