Mike’s Take on Stanley Baker Movies ……… Day 9
Dirk Bogarde takes the lead role in this Joseph Losey film that sees Stanley Baker joining the production in support for his fourth and final go around with the director. It’s a straight drama involving relationships, desire, lust, sex and more sex. At least that’s the way I see it.
The film starts with Bogarde rushing to the scene of an accident outside his countryside home late at night. There are two people in the car which has rolled on it’s side. One alive and one dead. Bogarde pulls the survivor, Jacqueline Sassard from the car who is in obvious shock while confirming that the other passenger is dead. The deceased is one of our leads though I’ll let you discover just who that is for yourself.
Right from the onset, there’s a hint of depravity in the air when Bogarde finds himself eyeing up the young woman sprawled on a bed in his home while he waits for the police to come to the scene. And so the flashback begins in our Harold Pinter scripted story from a novel by Nicholas Mosely. Dirk is a tutor in philosophy at Oxford. Among his students are Michael York in his film debut and the crash survivor, the stunning Miss Sassard. Dirk will be constantly sneaking glances at the lovely lass with the short skirt and long legs. Along with Dirk, the faculty includes the unhappily married Baker and the senior member of Dirk’s inner circle as played by Canadian born, Alexander Knox.
Bogarde has a wife and two children at home and surely his wife (Vivien Merchant) senses the longing in her husband for the younger woman in his class. Young Michael has his eyes set on Sassard so using York as interference, Bogarde invites the youngsters to his home for a day of food, drink and tennis. It’s here that we’ll get to learn more of Baker and his teasing and pushing the envelope where Dirk is concerned. Baker sees through Bogarde’s charade and knows he desires the younger woman.
It’s no wonder Baker knows how Bogarde’s feeling because he and the attractive young lady are already lovers enjoying clandestine meetings when given the opportunity. Bogarde’s angry at Baker and York isn’t exactly overjoyed with Bogarde lusting after the girl he himself wants to lay claim to. Entanglements are sure to follow including an uncomfortable scene involving one of our leading men with Miss Sassard that doesn’t sit well. At least with me.
Unconventional to say the least in both content and the directing style from Losey. What he captures on film is odd in it’s execution with voice overs and cameras focusing on characters legs or props while the conversations continue off screen. There’s another odd form of storytelling on a side trip for Bogarde into the city where he meets an old flame played by Delphine Seyrig. For me Seyrig will always be associated with playing “The Countess” in one of my favorite vampire films, Daughters of Darkness made in 1971.
I’ll admit to being quite taken with Jacqueline Sassard. A new to me face. After a bit of research, it would appear as if she had a short career on camera and retired from cinema in 1969. A loss to films? Who knows….
This film was Baker’s final film with the director, Losey. They had previously collaborated on Chance Meeting, The Criminal and Eva. Having seen The Criminal and not the other two, I’d be more inclined to revisit that film before Accident in the near future. Not that this one isn’t good, it’s just not the type of film that entices me to revisit on occasion as opposed to the action oriented films on Baker’s resume.
Critically, the film was a success scoring nominations in various award ceremonies including BAFTA and at Cannes. While Bogarde was nominated for the BAFTA ceremonies, Baker was sadly left out despite delivering a solid performance of the aging married man caught up in a relationship with an attractive, much younger woman.
Looking to score a copy of Accident? This one sits on my shelf thanks to landing a copy of the DVD release from years gone by via Anchor Bay.