Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Go-Between

Sanansaattaja / Budbäraren. GB © 1971 EMI. D: Joseph Losey. SC: Harold Pinter - based on the novel by L.P. Hartley (1953). DP: Gerry Fisher - Technicolor. M: Michel Legrand. LOC: Norfolk. CAST: Julie Christie (Marian Maudsley / Lady Trimingham), Alan Bates (Ted Burgess), Margaret Leighton (Mrs. Maudsley), Michael Redgrave (Leo Colston - adult), Dominic Guard (Leo Colston - boy), Michael Gough (Mr. Maudsley), Edward Fox (Viscount Hugh Trimingham). 116 min. A vintage print with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Lea Joutseno / Börje Idman. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 15 Sep 2009.

A worn vintage print with colour fading, yet still passable. - Joseph Losey at his best: my two favourite Losey films are King and Country and The Go-Between. - This belongs to the rare cases where a great film is based on a great novel. With the novel in fresh memory, it was a pleasure to notice the inevitable differences. The novel is based on the adult Leo's memory of his boyhood impressions half a century ago. - In the film, such a subjectivity would not be possible. One of the differences is that we realize from the looks of Mr. and Mrs. Maudsley that they realize what is going on between Marian and Ted. Probably also Hugh Trimingham is aware, but he is not easily offended. - In this film, Losey puts aside his 1960s experiments, and just proceeds as a profound cinematic storyteller, with a sure sense of the mise-en-scène. The film is both refined and powerful. The milieux, the performances, the music, all work perfectly. - There are two main victims of the web of deceit: Ted who commits suicide, and the young and innocent Leo, who will never recover.

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