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SOFT RIOT

TWO FEATURES ON CLASS

14 November 2011

The consideration to submit a brief overview of the following two films to this journal was on the books for today. However, as time today is bit by bit eaten; I’m gonna slip this one quite quickly while it’s still fresh on the mind. By some unplanned coincidence last night’s viewing consisted of two film dealing with issues of class and privilege. These two films are separated by a span of over twenty years and each take place on two different continents.

The first film, The Servant, is a British film from 1963 starring Dirk Bogarde somewhat hot on the heels of his controversial film, Victim. It mainly takes place in the apartment of a foppish and wealthy young man played by James Fox (Performance). Coming from a privileged background and not really having worked in his lifetime, he enlists the services of Barnett, played by Dirk Bogarde to be his “man-servant”. Throughout the film Barnett masterfully turns the tables on his employer and by the end of the film the relations between these two and their lovers become entirely twisted and into threadbare emotional psychosis, playing on a larger theme of class and privilege.

THE SERVANT (1963)

The second is a light-hearted, critically panned film adaptation of The Bonfire of The Vanities by Brian de Palma starring “family-friendly” 80s favourites Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis and Melanie Griffith. While the film has apparently followed Tom Wolfe’s book for the most part, it is somewhat common knowledge that the character of Sherman McCoy is painted in a more sympathetic light in this film — there’s something generally hammy about it but makes for late Sunday night “watch the wealthy white guy fall real hard” entertainment, and touches on some of the political reasonings for the basis of scapegoat type cases.

THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES (1988)

The former struck me as a more masterful film and I admit I’m starting to get a Dirk Bogarde kick a stirring. Time to watch Sebastian at some point, Bogarde meets 60s drug movie!

SEBASTIAN (1968)