Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

United Kingdom 1971
Directed by
Joseph Losey
116 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

The Go-Between

Much as was the case with the revitalized Australian film industry of the time, Edwardian costumes dramas were prominent in UK film of the late 1960s and early 1970s and stylistically and thematically they have much in common - finely detailed recreations of the lifestyle of the period with its clearly demarcated class structure on the one hand and explorations of its psycho-social consequences on the other. This is very much the case with Joseph Losey’s screen transposition of the L.P Hartley novel (adapted by Harold Pinter who had also worked with Losey on The Servant and Accident.

Losey does a commendable job with this story of a young boy (Dominic Guard) who goes to the spend the summer holidays at the Norfolk home of a wealthy aristocratic family. He develops an instant crush on the beautiful grown daughter Marian (Julie Christie) and in order to be close to her becomes the go-between in her affair with a lusty Lawrentian farmer (Alan Bates). Gradually he becomes aware that they are doing what he would like to do with her if only he knew what is was, whilst also being confused by Marian’s decision to marry stuffed shirt Viscount Trimingham (Edward Fox)

Although James Ivory and Ishmail Merchant with the help of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala would master this territory with films such as A Room With A View and thereafter, Losey’s film, Michel Legrand's rather intrusive score aside, serves well as a portrait of a way of life about to be swept away by WWI even if the “I say old chap” type banter is at times a little too arch.

More questionable is Losey's staggered introduction of an epilogue in which Leo (now played by Michael Redgrave) comes to visit the aged Marian to perform one more duty as a go-between. This device feels more symptomatic of Losey’s fondness for making dramatic moral statements rather than a consequence of what we have seen which, frankly, is more of a solecism than a tragedy. The latter may have been effectively realized if stated within the confines of the main story's time-frame rather than in a rather ennervated coda.




Want something different?

random vintage best worst