Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Dirk Bogarde Collection |
Accident/The Mind Benders/The Servant
Actors: Dirk Bogarde, Stanley Baker, Sarah Miles, Wendy Craig, James Fox
Directors: Basil Dearden, Joseph Losey
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Comulsory for Fans of 1960s British Cinema
mackjay | Cambridge, MA | 01/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD release of "The Servant" "Accident" & "The Mind Benders" gets 5 stars here, simply because the three films are so well-presented (and the cost is so reasonable). Extras are skimpy: original trailers (it is quite informative to see how such challenging films were marketed in the early 1960s) and sketchy notes on the artists ("Victim", for example, in which Bogarde starred in 1961, is not included in his filmography). The films are nicely divided into chapters, but there are no subtitles included.The transfers are wonderful. All three films are letter-boxed, so viewers can at last get a sense of Losey's use of space in his two. Only a Criterion issue is likely to have surpassed these transfers. Particulary in the case of Losey, it might have been good to have included some sort of commentary by surviving participants or film scholars."The Servant" is a major film of the 1960s. Wonderfully fascinating, it occupies the realm of social commentary/satire and as well as that of psychological thriller. This superbly acted drama has an uncanny atmosphere of pervasive strangeness. John Dankworth's score and the recurring use of his song 'All Alone' contribute greatly to the bizarre goings-on. The main performers have probably never been better: Bogarde, James Fox (in an impressive debut), Sarah Miles and Wendy Craig."Accident": called by some Losey's masterpiece. Again, the top-notch transfer works wonders for the viewer's involvement and appreciation. There is a subtle use of color in this film that is well served. It may be a tiny bit too self-consciously "arty" in its execution, but "Accident" contains very fine work from Bogarde, Stanley Baker and Vivien Merchant. And this film has in common with "The Servant" a strange, foreboding atmosphere."The Mind Benders" is probably the least artistically important of this trio. Yet, for three quarters of its length, it's a slow, but very compelling hybrid of science-fiction and domestic drama. Bogarde is, again, at the peak of his form. But mention must be made of Mary Ure, brilliant as his tormented wife. Only this film's final moments let it down in a sentimental turn that a Losey probably would have avoided. This is not to disparage director Basil Dearden, whose direction of actors here is as good as anyone's. There are several highly dramatic scenes and a superior musical score by Georges Auric, adding to the effectiveness of this picture.Compulsive viewing for Dirk Bogarde and British cinema of the 1960s."
Off the beaten track.
mackjay | 06/05/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This has to be one of the oddest DVD collections out there: *The Dirk Bogarde Collection*, three movies featuring one of the most unique and courageous actors in the history of film, Dirk Bogarde. Bogarde started as a British matinee idol, but as middle-age approached decided to take some risks. The result was an impressive career consisting of masterpieces directed by the likes of Losey and Visconti. (The Visconti films, *The Damned* and *Death in Venice*, are absolute masterpieces that are not yet on DVD, for some stupid reason.) This collection features two great ones by Losey and another by Basil Dearden, all from the 1960's. In chronological order and ascending importance:*The Mind Benders* (Three Stars): Inessential but entertaining piece of Cold War hysteria, in which Bogarde is a scientist / professor at Oxford who has been fooling around with sensory-deprivation experiments. The experiments involve submerging a person in a tank of water: given scuba gear and suspended by cables so that he can't sink or rise to the surface, the person evidently goes rather insane after a few short hours. It seems ridiculous until you remember the opening title-cards, which inform us that the idea for the story is based on REAL experiments performed at colleges in the US. Hey . . . the Commies WERE coming, you know.*The Servant* (Four Stars): The first of the Joseph Losey / Harold Pinter / Dirk Bogarde collaborations in this set (director, writer, and star, respectively). The times were a-changin', all right: James Fox, in his first screen role, is a playboy who has inherited millions from his family and thinks he can live like a Gentleman of Yore in the Sixties . . . but he picked the wrong decade to attempt it. (Hell, he picked the wrong century.) Of course a Gentleman must have a Manservant, so he hires Dirk Bogarde to clean up his new mansion and cook his meals. Bogarde is amazing, here: nobody could raise his eyebrows with such withering disdain as this guy. Pinter and Bogarde combine to create a fascinating character that transcends the Pinterian class-warfare stuff that's probably the main point of the movie. We watch with fascination this latter-day Iago destroy his master for no particular reason except that he can, which is reason enough for him. (Pinter keeps trying to score his class war points, but they merely intrude on the interior psychodrama between Fox and Bogarde.) Amusingly, 30 years later Fox was to again play a wealthy English gent pestered by a manservant -- Anthony Hopkins -- in *The Remains of the Day*.*Accident* (Five Stars): A hideously sophisticated masterpiece. *Accident* takes on the dark, damp theme of teacher-student relations . . . while also taking on mid-life angst, under which aegis we'll include loveless marriages, professional envy, and resentment of youth. Dirk Bogarde plays a family-man professor at Oxford (again!) who's got a crush on one of his students, a beautiful, deeply tanned, exotic Continental girl (Jacqueline Sassard, a rather atrocious actress). He's the epitome of frustration. His wife, Vivien Merchant, is pregnant with another child (they have several), has a terrible haircut, wears dumpy housedresses, and seems to have nothing but seething contempt for her husband. When he discovers that his swinish "pal", fellow professor Charlie (a superb Sir Stanley Baker), has beat him to the punch with the beautiful girl, he's driven over the edge. There are too many rancid riches here for one mere paragraph. I'll finish by saying that never has England seemed more HUMID: director Joseph Losey takes full advantage of what must've been an exceptionally hot summer over there. The scene where they play tennis and drink whiskies is enough to give the viewer a woozy head.[The DVDs, by Anchor Bay, feature splendid bios of Bogarde, Losey, Pinter, Baker . . . but the sound on each is TERRIBLE. I practically had the volume on my TV maxed out in order to hear what everyone was saying.]"
Charles S. Tashiro | Agoura Hills, CA USA | 08/12/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Since I have already reviewed "The Servant" separately, I will confine my comments here to "The Mind Benders" and "Accident.""The Mind Benders" is an excellent example of the kind of film that has given British cinema a bad name. Literate, intelligent, well-acted, it's also a plodding progression of one staid camera set up after another. Bogarde and company are all excellent; one almost wishes they were a little less so. There is nothing to react to beyond the finesse with which they round off every corner of character, so thoroughly *written.* Each conflict is trimmed and groomed, each revelation tastefully neat and in place. It's all rather lifeless and unconvincing, though moderately engaging if you expect little from it."Accident," on the other hand, is Joseph Losey at his most winningly fluid. It's also Bogarde at his rat-like best as an envious Oxford don with the hots for one of his pupils. Playwright Harold Pinter's dialogue is so smart, it must have given the actors toothaches. All (with the exception of the inept Jacqueline Sassard as the object of Bogarde's attentions) obviously relish the chance to create a bevy of scheming, overeducated, unattractive vipers out of Pinter's clipped dialogue and famously pregnant pauses. With Losey at his most floating, sensuous, yet simultaneously precise, the movie almost defines the sexiness of style.It's also style with a real subject, one that coincidentally sheds light on the failure of "The Mind Benders." "Accident" is, bar none, the most accurate evocation of the lifeless drift, petty jealousies and barely contained mutual contempt that constitute life in academia. "The Mind Benders" tries to make us care about academics, but the results are diagrammatic. We can see we're *supposed* to feel concern for Bogarde and his wife, we can tell how we're *meant* to react when their marriage starts to go awry because of his work, but we can't work up much more emotion than the recognition. "Accident," on the other hand, exposes the lies and double-dealings of its characters. We don't care what happens to them for a moment. We can't, they're too accurately drawn, too self-pitying and lacking in any serious problems they don't create for themselves. The results nonetheless are riveting, *because* we recognize the truth of them. It's a nasty, knowing, unblinkered view of thoroughly unattractive people, a viciously witty snipe at ivy clad hypocrisy."
Essential for Bogarde Fans
Troy R. Howarth | 08/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Though he is seldom mentioned in the same company as Laurence Olivier or Ralph Richardson, Dirk Bogarde is unquestionably one of the finest British actors - and compared to his other distinguished Knighted contemporaries, he was arguably the finest film actor of the lot. With his striking features and easy charm, Bogarde became a matinee idol early on - a label he detested. After appearing in a string of mostly forgotten comedies, Bogarde found an ideal artistic "partner" in the blacklisted American director Joseph Losey. They worked together for the first time on the pulpy, but stylish, melodrama The Sleeping Tiger (1954), which Losey was forced to sign as Alex Hanbury. When they reunited later, for 1963's The Servant, the end result would establish them both as forces to be reckoned with. It's appropriate, then, that this box set from Anchor Bay includes The Servant, as well as arguably the finest of the Losey/Bogarde collaborations, 1967's Accident. Both films show Bogarde and Losey at the top of their form, feeding off each other's respective creative gifts and working from top notch screenplays by the noted playwrite Harold Pinter. The Servant is arguably the more accessible of the two films, having a more clearly defined plot, but Accident stands out as one of the most striking British films of the decade - it unfolds in an impressionistic manner and is less concerned with contrivance than it is with nuance and detail. The "odd man out" of the set would have to be Basil Dearden's sci-fi drama The Mind Benders, which is still of interest as it predates the central theme of Ken Russell's Altered States (1980) by many years. Bogarde gives another compelling performance as a scientist whose experiments in sensory depravation reveal hidden facets to his personality, and the film itself has aged more gracefully than some of the more outlandish sci-fi pictures of the period. All three films are given excellent transfers, and while one could wish for better supplementary material (trailers and talent bios are all there is to be found), it's nevertheless a terrific intro to one of the finest and most creatively fearless British actors."