Film, Drama
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars
American exile Joseph Losey’s twentieth film enjoys an extended run at BFI Southbank for the next two weeks as part of a retrospective of the director’s work. The 1967 film forsakes the swinging, mini-skirted metropolis for an examination of moral lassitude and contained passions among the dreaming spires  and cardigan-wearing dons of Oxford academia. ‘You’re not past it, are you?’ asks a student (Michael York) of his fortysomething philosophy tutor
(Dirk Bogarde). He’s referring to his teacher’s interest in  a young, passion-arousing Austrian princess (played like a tailor’s dummy by beauteous, brown-eyed Euro-star Jacqueline Sassard), who is the sexual catalyst of this film’s lazily tragic events, seen by us in flashback.

Once a celebrated film of the British cinema ‘renaissance’ – with an impeccable pedigree in contributors Nicholas Mosley (author), Harold Pinter (screenwriter) and a director in his post-‘The Servant’ ascendancy  –  ‘Accident’ now seems a little self-conscious in its modernist, ‘quality’ art-cinema pretensions, its provocative sensuality and its class-observant exposure of hidden power games trumped by the clarity of, say, Polanski’s ‘Knife in the Water’.

Neverthess, it contains an interesting friction in the varied stylised realism of the performances (not least that between Bogarde  and Stanley Baker, as a brasher fellow don), top-notch Eastmancolor cinematography by Gerry Fisher,  an intriguing use of sound (jazzman John Dankworth’s saxy score, disrupted by the soundtrack’s banal clicking clocks or offscreen passing ambulances), all darkened by the discomforting sharpness of Losey’s foreigner’s eye.

By: Wally Hammond



Release details

Release date:
Friday June 5 2009
105 mins

Cast and crew

Joseph Losey
Harold Pinter
Dirk Bogarde
Stanley Baker
Jacqueline Sassard
Michael York
Vivien Merchant
Delphine Seyrig
Alexander Knox
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