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There is a sort of brazen overtness in its visual insinuations that makes it hard to take the repression of the characters seriously no matter how much one reminds oneself that it might have once been a norm.
could very easily have been a silent film, so much does the staging of the characters point to their relations to one another more clearly than anything they say.
Take this shot from key scene where Tony comes home from his date to find Hugo in bed.
As well as containing some obvious symbolism, the use of mirrors becomes a way of foregrounding what’s in the background.
This visual motif suggests that the things that remain unspoken are nevertheless obvious to all but the most casual observers.
As several of the screen grabs above illustrate, Losey uses mise-en-scène in multiple ways, often combining visual motifs in shots.
If you enter the terms “servant,” “losey,” and “creepy” into the Google search engine, you get approximately nine hundred hits.
Not all of them, of course, are using the “c” word in connection to Joseph Losey’s 1963 film starring Dirk Bogarde and “introducing” James Fox, but enough of them are to make it clear that “creepy” is the adjective of choice for talking vaguely about Losey’s film without having to get too specific.“Creepy” is one of those adjectives that names rather than describes, with at least one dictionary using the descriptors of “uneasiness” or “fear” to categorize the response to something which is analogous to what is felt when something creeps on one’s skin.