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Movie Poster of the Week: "The Servant"

In London last month I caught a small, fascinating exhibition at the British Film Institute on the collaboration between director Joseph Losey and writer Harold Pinter. This magical alliance yielded three stunning films: The Servant (1963), Accident (1967) and The Go-Between (1970), of which, shamefully, only The Servant is available on DVD in the US (Glenn Kenny wrote about the UK Go-Between disc here earlier this year).

The gems of the exhibition were this British Servant poster, with its nicely placed X rating, and a case containing personal letters, annotated scripts and other ephemera. Best of all were two typed wish lists of potential leading actors and actresses for The Go-Between. Each list was divided between "Name" actors on the left, and "No Name" on the right. The list of male Names had Albert Finney, Alan Bates (who eventually won the role), Tom Courtenay, David Warner, Michael Crawford (the Phantom himself, or Frank Spencer to our British readers) and Mick Jagger (!) but Warner and Crawford had been crossed out in red pen, Jagger had a question mark by his name, and Patrick Bachau had been added to the list. In the No Names, among 16 more minor actors, lurks future Deadwood star Ian McShane.

The actress list has only four big Names: Mia Farrow, Julie Christie (the eventual Marian), Marianne Faithful and Jane Asher. But Asher had been circled and relegated to No Name, replaced by Sarah Miles (who had starred in The Servant). The one No Name that stands out to posterity is Charlotte Rampling "(recommended by Dirk from Visconti picture)." It's a fascinating snapshot of an era, in shopping-list format.

The following Pinter-Losey posters—Japanese and French Accidents, and Romanian and Polish Go-Betweens—were not in the exhibition, but I want to share them with you anyway (the Japanese and Romanian posters courtesy of Posteritati). And if you've never seen The Servant, it's playing on August 10th on TCM. Don't miss it.

Thanks Adrian. Great stuff. Was tempted to seek out posters for Losey’s wonderful magical Behanesque The Criminal (starring Stanley Baker), aka Concrete Jungle in the US, a favourite of Iain Sinclair (he first came to Hackney, his spiritual home for the last 4 decades, to see the Criminal), Two very different takes: Neither of which cut the mustard, alas. But 2nd is far superior. Do you know anything of their provenance? Fergal B
I’ve never seen The Criminal before, but it’s playing at Film Forum in their upcoming Brit Noir series! I love that the British poster calls it “The toughest picture ever made in Britain!” while the US one pulls no punches with “The toughest film ever made!” Interesting to compare Stanley Baker’s pose in the British poster to Dirk’s in The Servant:

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