While I Love You Alone

Stills from The Servant (Joseph Losey, 1963).

The soundtrack, by John Dankworth, includes the song All Gone, sung by Cleo Laine, which is used repeatedly in the film.

 
 

ALL GONE

Lyrics: Harold Pinter

Now while I love you alone
Now while I love you alone
Now while I love you
can’t love without you
must love without you alone
Leave it alone it’s all gone
Leave it alone it’s all gone
Don’t stay to see me turn from your arms
Leave it alone it’s all gone
Give me my death
close my mouth
Give me my breath
close my mouth
How can I bear the ghost of you here
Can’t love without you
must love without you
Now while I love you alone
Now while I love you alone
Now while I love you
can’t love without you
must love without you alone
Give me my death
close my mouth
Give me my breath
close my mouth
How can I bear the ghost of you here
Can’t love without you
must love without you
Now while I love you alone
Now while I love you alone
Now while I love you
can’t love without you
must love without you alone

 
 

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A Gentleman’s Gentleman

“Get out of the way, I’ll show you what I am. I’m a gentleman’s gentleman, and you’re no bloody gentleman!”

 
 

 
 

The Servant is Harold Pinter‘s 1963 film adaptation of a novelette by Robin Maugham(Falcon Press 1948). A British production directed by Joseph Losey, it stars Dirk Bogarde, Sarah Miles, Wendy Craig and James Fox. It opened at London’s Warner Theatre on 14 November 1963. The Servant won three British Academy Film Awards. Wendy Craig replaced Vanessa Redgrave who was to make her feature debut but had to drop out because she was pregnant with her elder child (Natasha Richardson).

 
 

‘It was Losey who first showed Robin Maugham’s novelette The Servant to Bogarde in 1954. Originally separately commissioned by director Michael Anderson, Pinter stripped it of its first-person narrator, its yellow book snobbery and the arguably anti-Semitic characterisation of Barrett – oiliness, heavy lids – replacing them with an economical language that implied rather than stated the slippage of power relations away from Tony towards Barrett

Nick James
Joseph Losey & Harold Pinter: In Search of PoshLust Times

 
 

Originally planned as a film by a different director, Michael Anderson. It was he who commissioned Harold Pinter to write the script, in 1961. When Anderson dropped out of the project, Joseph Losey took over and insisted that Pinter’s script be extensively rewritten. This led to what Losey claimed was their only quarrel in over twenty years of close friendship. The Servant is the first of Harold Pinter’s three film collaborations with Joseph Losey. The other two were Accident (1967) and The Go-Between (1971).

When Joseph Losey was hospitalized for two weeks during this shoot, Dirk Bogarde continued filming assisted by minute, daily instructions over the phone from Losey’s hospital bed. When Losey returned to the set he did not re-shoot any of the script, much to the relief of cast and crew.

 
 

 
 

Tony (James Fox), a wealthy young Londoner, hires Hugo Barrett (Dirk Bogarde) as his manservant. Initially, Barrett appears to take easily to his new job, and he and Tony form a quiet bond, retaining their social roles. Relationships begin shifting, however, and they change with the introduction of Susan (Wendy Craig), Tony’s girlfriend, who seems to be suspicious of Barrett and to loathe all he represents. Barrett brings Vera (Sarah Miles), whom he presents as his sister, into Tony’s household as a maidservant, but it emerges that Vera is actually Barrett’s lover. Through Barrett’s and Vera’s games and machinations, they reverse roles with Tony and Susan; Tony becomes more and more dissipated, sinking further into what he perceives as their level, as the “master” and the “servant” exchange roles. In the final scene, Tony has become wholly dependent on Barrett, and Susan is exiled permanently from the house.

 
 

 
 

Although Losey’s films are generally naturalistic, The Servant‘s hybridisation of Losey’s signature Baroque style, film noir, naturalism and expressionism and both Accident‘s and The Go-Between‘s radical cinematography, use of montage, voice over and musical score amount to a sophisticated construction of cinematic time and narrative perspective that edges this work in the direction of neorealist cinema. All three films are marked by Pinter’s sparse, elliptical and enigmatically subtextual dialogue, something Losey often develops a visual correlate for (and occasionally even works against) by means of dense and cluttered mise en scene and peripatetic camera work.

 

To watch the movie clip Staircase Quarrel from The Servant , pease take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

Bogarde’s Ups and Downs

“I suppose the greatest exit which we are called upon to make or which is wished upon us, is our birth; that clumsy, uncomfortable, messy, bewildering affair which brings us often breathless into the long corridor of life leading directly, sometimes indirectly, but always inevitably, to our final supreme Exit, death.”

Dirk Bogarde
Quote from Snakes and Ladders (1978)

 
 

 
 

In his outstanding first volume of autobiography, A Postillion Struck by Lightning, Dirk Bogarde retraced his childhood and early experiences on the stage. In Snakes and Ladders, he continues his memoirs, from the trials of army training camp to the greatest challenge of his film career—the role of von Aschenbach in Death in Venice  (Lucchino Visconti, 1971). Here, Bogarde recounts all the ups and downs and the people he encountered—family and friends, actors and actresses, directors and producers—on his way to becoming one of the finest cinematic actors of our time.

In The Game of Love

 
 

SNAKES AND LADDERS

(Joss Stone, Jonathan Shorten, Conner Reeves)

In the game of love
It takes all you got
Just to keep it moving up
Don’t you wanna reach the top
But heaven seems such a crazy dream
If your heart has room for doubt
You’re neither in you’re neither out

99 1/2 it just won’t do
You gotta give me all of you
Not asking too much of a heart that’s true
So tell me…

Chorus
What’s the name of the game that we are playing
Boy whenever I think that we are winning
Then you roll the dice take a slide
Right back to the one from 99

Is it gonna go on like this forever
Are we gonna to take that last step together
Going round and round and up and down
Feels just like snakes and ladders

Baby don’t it feel like a carousel
Where all the world is rushing by
But when it stops you realize
That you’re right back where you started at
I need a little more than that
It time for us to face the facts

Whether to be or not to be
That is the question so it seems
We’re going nowhere in between
So tell me…

Chorus
What’s the name of the game that we are playing
Boy whenever I think that we are winning
Then you roll the dice take a slide
Right back to the one from 99

Is it gonna go on like this forever
Are we gonna to take that last step together
Going round and round and up and down
Feels just like snakes and ladders

Don’t wanna play this game nomore
I wanna know right now for sure
What am I giving my heart for
Baby I need a little more
Don’t leave me hanging on a string
Now that I gave you everything

Not when I play to win
Snakes and ladders

Chorus (2x)
What’s the name of the game that we are playing
Boy whenever I think that we are winning
Then you roll the dice take a slide
Right back to the one from 99

Is it gonna go on like this forever
Are we gonna to take that last step together
Going round and round and up and down
Feels just like snakes and ladders

Track #9 from Mind, Body and Soul

2004

 
 

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The Unchanging Twoness of Things

“All games have morals; and the game of Snakes and Ladders captures, as no other activity can hope to do, the eternal truth that for every ladder you hope to climb, a snake is waiting just around the corner, and for every snake a ladder will compensate. But it’s more than that; no mere carrot-and-stick affair; because implicit in the game is unchanging twoness of things, the duality of up against down, good against evil; the solid rationality of ladders balances the occult sinuosities of the serpent; in the opposition of staircase and cobra we can see, metaphorically, all conceivable oppositions, Alpha against Omega, father against mother.”

Salman Rushdie
Midnight’s Children

 
 

Game of Snakes and Ladders, gouache on cloth (India, 19th century)

 
 

Snakes and Ladders is an ancient Indian board game regarded today as a worldwide classic. It is played between two or more players on a game board having numbered, gridded squares. A number of “ladders” and “snakes” are pictured on the board, each connecting two specific board squares. The object of the game is to navigate one’s game piece, according to die rolls, from the start (bottom square) to the finish (top square), helped or hindered by ladders and snakes respectively. The historic version had root in morality lessons, where a player’s progression up the board represented a life journey complicated by virtues (ladders) and vices (snakes).

Snakes and Ladders originated in India as part of a family of dice board games, that included Gyan chauper and pachisi (present-day Ludo and Parcheesi). The game made its way to England and was sold as “Snakes and Ladders”, then the basic concept was introduced in the United States as Chutes and Ladders (an “improved new version of England’s famous indoor sport”) by game pioneer Milton Bradley in 1943.

Known as Moksha Patam, the game was popular in ancient India and emphasized the role of fate or karma. A Jain version, Gyanbazi or Gyan chauper, dates to the 16th century. The game was called Leela and reflected the Hinduism consciousness surrounding everyday life. The underlying ideals of the game inspired a version introduced in Victorian England in 1892.

Moksha Patam was associated with traditional Hindu and Jain philosophy contrasting karma and kama, or destiny and desire. It emphasized destiny, as opposed to games such as pachisi, which focused on life as a mixture of skill (free will) and luck.The game has also been interpreted and used as a tool for teaching the effects of good deeds versus bad. The board was covered with symbolic images, the top featuring gods, angels, and majestic beings, while the rest of the board was covered with pictures of animals, flowers and people. The ladders represented virtues such as generosity, faith, and humility, while the snakes represented vices such as lust, anger, murder, and theft. The morality lesson of the game was that a person can attain salvation (Moksha) through doing good, whereas by doing evil one will inherit rebirth to lower forms of life. The number of ladders was less than the number of snakes as a reminder that a path of good is much more difficult to tread than a path of sins. Presumably the number “100” represented Moksha (salvation).

The phrase “back to square one” originates in the game of snakes and ladders, or at least was influenced by it – the earliest attestation of the phrase refers to the game: “Withal he has the problem of maintaining the interest of the reader who is always being sent back to square one in a sort of intellectual game of snakes and ladders.”