“The Go-Between” is Joseph Losey’s beguiling film from 1971. One thinks of David Lean as the master of this genre but this movie is as lush and beautiful as any Lean film. Based on the novel by L.P. Hartley, it tells of a boy who becomes the messenger for love notes between an aristocratic young woman and a local farmer. The script is by Harold Pinter and the narration in flash-backs is by the now-grown Michael Redgrave.
“The Go-Between” will be shown on Tuesday, October 4 at 7 p.m. in the Gill Patterson Community Room of the Library. The stars are the suitably sultry Julie Christie and the handsome Alan Bates. As Leonard Maltin writes in his summary, “it is beautifully filmed, full of nuances and fine performances.” Also in the cast are Margaret Leighton, Michael Gough and Edward Fox.
Joseph Losey is not so well known as David Lean, but he has an impressive list of films. His most famous in this country is “The Boy with Green Hair” which starred a very young Dean Stockwell. He is not British, however, but rather an American born in Wisconsin who was black-listed in the McCarthy era and moved to England to continue his career. There he is, perhaps, best known for his 1963 film “The Servant” with Dirk Bogarde, also with a Pinter script.
The IMDb website calls “The Go-Between” a “tale of torrid and forbidden love.” Roger Ebert was more circumspect. He wrote that the film “is about class distinction and its warping effect on the life of one small boy. The story is set in the end of the reign of Queen Victoria before World War I, in the summer of 1900, when privileged days seemed to stretch endlessly before the British upper class.” The boy, Leo, is sent to spend the summer holiday at the home of a rich friend. There, he meets and falls hopelessly, childishly, in love with Marian, Lady Trimingham, played by Christie, a feeling that infects his entire life.
This is not a perfect film but it is visually stunning, with a lovely score by Michel LeGrande. You will find it memorable and moving. It runs just under two hours and we’ll do our best to start right at 7 p.m. and have you on your way home for the second debate of this election year by 9 o’clock.
So we hope to see you at the movies!