The Servant

Synopsis: The aristocratic Tony moves to London and hires the servant Hugo Barrett for all services at home. Barrett seems to be a loyal and competent employee, but Tony's girlfriend Susan does not like him and asks Tony to send him away. When Barrett brings his sister Vera to work and live in the house, Tony has a brief hidden affair with her. After traveling with Susan and spending a couple of days in a friend's house outside London, the couple unexpectedly returns and finds Barrett and Vera, who are actually lovers, in Tony's room. They are fired and Susan breaks with Tony. Later, Tony meets Barrett alone in a pub and hires him back, and Barrett imposes his real dark intentions in the house, turning the table and switching position with his master.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Joseph Losey
Production: Rialto Pictures
  Won 3 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 5 wins & 8 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
116 min

Excuse me, sir.

My name's Barrett, sir.

Oh, God, of course.

I'm so sorry. I fell asleep.

- We've got an appointment.

- Yes, sir.

- What time?

- Three o'clock, sir.

Well, what time is it now?

Three o'clock, sir.


It's too many beers at lunch,

that's what it is.

- Do you drink beer?

- No. No, I don't, sir.

Well, come upstairs.

We can sit down.

I'm just back from Africa.

I'm quite liking it.

- What do you think of the house?

- It's very nice, sir.

Needs a lot done to it, of course.

Damn lucky to get this place, actually.

Little bit of wet rot, but not much.

Sit down.

Thank you, sir.

Sit down.

Well, now, this post...

What's happening is this.

I'll be moving into this house

in about two or three weeks' time.

And I'm all alone at the moment

so I'll be needing

a manservant, you see.

I've seen one or two chaps already.

But they didn't seem

very suitable to me, somehow.


You've had experience

of this kind of work, have you?

I've been in service

for the last 13 years, sir.

For the last few years I've acted as...

personal manservant

to various members of the peerage.

I was with Viscount Barr

until about five weeks ago.

Oh, Lord Barr?

My father knew him well.

They died within a week of each other,

as a matter of fact.

- So you're free?

- Yes, I am, sir.

- Do you like the work?

- Oh, I do.

I do. I like it very much, sir.

Can you cook?

Well, it's...

If I might put it this way, sir,

cooking is something

I take a great deal of pride in.

Any dish in particular?

Well, my souffls have always received

a great deal of praise in the past.

Do you know anything

about Indian dishes?

- Oh, well, a little.

- Well, I know a hell of a lot.

- You'd have to do all the cooking.

- That would give me great pleasure.

I could have got a housekeeper

to run the kitchen.

But the thought of some old woman

telling me what to do put me off.

Yes, quite, sir.

Now, apart from the cooking...

I'll need...



general looking-after, you know.

Yes, I do, sir.

- Brazil?

- Yes, in the jungle.


- We've got to clear the jungle first.

- What, just you?

No, no.

It's a giant development and

they're going to build three cities.

- Are they?

- Mm. Gigantic project.

A matter of clearing

hundreds of miles of jungle.

I'll have another bottle.

And by the way, this one's corked.

I'm very sorry, sir.

- You're corked!

- Listen.

You see,

first we have to build the cities.

Then we've got to find the people

to go and live in the cities.

Where are you going to find them?

From Asia Minor.

There are thousands of peasants.

They're having a rough time of it

and this will mean a new life for them.

Anyway, he wants me

to help arrange the whole thing.

It's going to cost millions.

Millions. Fine.

- I'm having lunch with him next week.

- In the jungle?

Either here or in Paris, actually.

Yes, fine.

Anyway, there's no hurry.

I could do with a rest.

I'm sure you could.

No, seriously, Susan.

What do you think of the idea?


Do you want to go there?


The jungle.

Mm-mm. Not now.

No, not now.


Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you.

I found a manservant.

A what?

What about the landing, sir?


Well, perhaps a little blue

here and there.

But I think the overall colour

should be white.

Well, mandarin red and fuchsia

is a very chic combination this year.

Not overall, surely?

- No, sir, not overall.

- Just a wall.

Yes, just a wall here and there, sir.

You're very knowledgeable

about decoration.

- It makes all the difference in life.

- What does?

Tasteful and pleasant surroundings.

Now you've said a mouthful.

Now, that's your room.

Here's the bathroom.

Wait a minute. What's that?

Box room.

- always do for a maid, sir.

- Oh, we'll have a cleaning woman.

Do you think we'll need a maid?

Well, they can be useful, sir.

Now, look here.

You mind that paintwork.


- Is everything all right?

- Yes, thank you.

Tell me of any problems so we can

correct it before it becomes a fault.

Lunch, sir.

- Green salad.

- Oh, that's nice.

No trouble, sir.

- How are they getting on?

- I'm keeping my eye on them.

Are you?

You might bring me a lager.

I'm just about to, sir.

I'm ready for it.


How about that, then?

- OK?

- Yes.


This is Barrett, Susan.

Barrett, my fiance, Miss Stewart.

- Hello.

- Evening. Shall I take your coat?

Er, no, I'll keep it on, thanks.


Do you like it?


It's beautiful.

simple and classic

is always best, Miss.

Is this classic?

This isn't classic.

It's prehistoric.

We've always had it

and I like it.

- Barrett, let's have a drink.

- Yes, sir.

Vodka on the rocks.

- And for you the usual, sir?

- Thank you.

Which one do you want?

Oh, this one.

My mother's favourite.

Thank you.

The place needs lightening,

more variety, you know, colour.

Oh, do you think so?

Yes, and tomorrow I'll organise

a spice shelf for the kitchen.

- Would you like to taste the wine?

- Thank you.

- What ducky gloves.

- Barrett's idea.

I like it.

It's Italian, Miss.

They're used in Italy.

Who by?


Just a Beaujolais, sir,

but a good bottler.

- A good what?

- bottler.

- Oh, is this necessary?

- Well, better be safe than sorry, sir.

You're too skinny

to be a nanny, Barrett.

Oh, come on. Don'tsulk.

I didn't mean it.



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Harold Pinter

Harold Pinter (; 10 October 1930 – 24 December 2008) was a Nobel Prize-winning British playwright, screenwriter, director and actor. One of the most influential modern British dramatists, his writing career spanned more than 50 years. His best-known plays include The Birthday Party (1957), The Homecoming (1964), and Betrayal (1978), each of which he adapted for the screen. His screenplay adaptations of others' works include The Servant (1963), The Go-Between (1971), The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), The Trial (1993), and Sleuth (2007). He also directed or acted in radio, stage, television, and film productions of his own and others' works. Pinter was born and raised in Hackney, east London, and educated at Hackney Downs School. He was a sprinter and a keen cricket player, acting in school plays and writing poetry. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art but did not complete the course. He was fined for refusing National service as a conscientious objector. Subsequently, he continued training at the Central School of Speech and Drama and worked in repertory theatre in Ireland and England. In 1956 he married actress Vivien Merchant and had a son, Daniel, born in 1958. He left Merchant in 1975 and married author Lady Antonia Fraser in 1980. Pinter's career as a playwright began with a production of The Room in 1957. His second play, The Birthday Party, closed after eight performances, but was enthusiastically reviewed by critic Harold Hobson. His early works were described by critics as "comedy of menace". Later plays such as No Man's Land (1975) and Betrayal (1978) became known as "memory plays". He appeared as an actor in productions of his own work on radio and film. He also undertook a number of roles in works by other writers. He directed nearly 50 productions for stage, theatre and screen. Pinter received over 50 awards, prizes, and other honours, including the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2005 and the French Légion d'honneur in 2007. Despite frail health after being diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in December 2001, Pinter continued to act on stage and screen, last performing the title role of Samuel Beckett's one-act monologue Krapp's Last Tape, for the 50th anniversary season of the Royal Court Theatre, in October 2006. He died from liver cancer on 24 December 2008. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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