a very great film by Joseph Losey (on Blu-ray and DVD)

Artistic note: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed Starhalf red star(4.5 / 5)


Leo, a young boy from a modest background is invited for the holidays by his classmate to a British aristocratic family in Norfolk. He will serve as a messenger to Marian, the young girl of the house, who has an impossible love affair with farmer Ted while she is financed with Viscount Hugh …

• Original title: The Go-Between
• Support tested: Blu-ray
• Genre: drama
• Year: 1971
• Director: Joseph Losey
• Casting: Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Margaret Leighton, Michael Redgrave, Dominic Guard, Michael Gough, Edward Fox, Richard Gibson
• Duration: 1 h 56 min 15
• Video format: 16/9
• Cinema format: 1.85 / 1
• Subtitling: French
• Sound tracks: DTS-HD MA 2.0 monophonic English, French
• Bonus: Digipack box with Blu-ray and DVD of the film – The Lovers Postman, interview with Michel Ciment, author, film critic (2021, 25 mn 52) – a 32-page booklet on the film
• Publisher: ESC Éditions

Artistic commentary

Palme d’Or deserved in Cannes in 1971, The messenger is one of three films directed by Joseph Losey (with The Servant, 1963, and Accident, 1967) whose screenplay is signed by Harold Pinter. For this drama, the screenwriter adapted the famous novel “The Go-Between”, published in 1953, by the British writer Leslie Poles Hartley whose main theme is the critique of the declining Victorian aristocracy seen through the gaze. of a child of more modest condition. But many other explanations on the content of the novel have been proposed and it is this complexity of meaning that seduced Joseph Losey who had this film in project since 1963. In The messenger, if he certainly deals with the theme of the social divide which is at the center of the novel, it is not the only one since his film also addresses those of adolescence, sexuality and the tragic consequences of their violent relationship. The richness of the novel is perfectly transposed in the film (cf. bonus: relevant analysis by Michel Ciment) in which the filmmaker subtly handles the art of the visual symbol: importance of the rich residence and its various architectural spaces, magnificent use of Norfolk landscapes and natural lighting (sun, rain) etc. It is worth emphasizing here the importance given to the reconstruction (costumes, sets, props) and the superb photography of Gerry Fisher. The atmosphere of the film also owes a lot to the learned musical variations composed by Michel Legrand, which Joseph Losey initially did not want. Besides its indisputable aesthetic beauty, The messenger benefits from the advantages of a rigorous staging, a remarkable interpretation, especially that of Julie Christie (Marian) and Dominic Guard (Leo), and a very careful evocation of the daily life of the Victorian aristocracy: the attention to minute detail never breathes starched reenactment. But it is above all its sought-after treatment, badly perceived by Americans (the MGM studio sold the film to Columbia just before Cannes!), Which makes the film so interesting. The messenger : the notion of time is decisive there (cf. bonus) and, through this shortcut of the life of a man who recalls his childhood, invites the spectator to wonder about this terrible story of child manipulation and the hopeless sentimental inhibition that results from it. The messenger is a masterpiece by Joseph Losey, a pessimistic and cruel drama that must be seen as much for its formal perfection (the quality of the copy is up to it) as for the mastery of its production.

Blu ray The Messenger

Technical commentary

Picture : HD copy, restored version, very good definition with sharpness in the details, very discreet and homogeneous silver grain (35 mm shooting), clean image affected by a slight occasional instability, light management of the contrast with very beautiful sunny outdoor scenes , hard blacks, naturalistic calibration and colorimetry, realistic nuanced tones

His : English 2.0 monophonic mix, extremely clear and balanced dialogues, superb dynamics which benefit the atmospheres and numerous sound effects (stairs, noise of dishes, vehicles, etc.) as well as the suggestive music of Michel Legrand, no sustained breath or distortion; VF 2.0 monophonic, very neat and faithful dubbing, dynamic and balanced, atmospheres in slight decline

Our opinion

Picture : Red StarRed StarRed StarRed Stargray star(4/5)
Sound mixes: blue Starblue Starblue Starhalf blue stargray star(3.5 / 5)
Bonus: Red StarRed StarRed Stargray stargray star(3/5)
Packaging: blue Starblue Starblue Stargray stargray star(3/5)

IMDb : https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067144/

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a very great film by Joseph Losey (on Blu-ray and DVD)