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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Accident (1967)

A married Oxford professor (Dirk Bogarde) finds himself attracted to one his students, an Austrian aristocrat (Jacqueline Sassard). She is also the object of desire for one of his peers (Stanley Baker) as well as another one of his students (Michael York). On a languid Sunday afternoon, all four of them plus the professor's pregnant wife (Vivien Merchant) have a house party in the country which begins a series of events that can't end well. Joseph Losey (who directed) and Harold Pinter (who did the screenplay) would seem a match made in either Heaven or Hell, depending on your viewpoint. Their specialty, at least during this period, was the vivisection of the upper class bourgeoisie which means biting and enigmatic dialog articulated by unpleasant empty shells with human faces. It's a very good film really but not actually likable which I suppose defeats the purpose but the long Sunday's journey into night sequence is near remarkable in its accuracy. Bogarde effortlessly plays these morally corrupt weaklings so well that it no longer seems like acting which allows Stanley Baker in an atypical performance to take the acting honors. The weak link is Sassard who isn't very interesting as an actress and thus not interesting as a character so one wonders why all the gents are gaga over her. With Delphine Seyrig, Alexander Knox, Freddie Jones and Pinter himself as a television executive.

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