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Two Oxford students, William and Anna, crash their car outside their professor Stephen's house. The lecturer finds William dead and Anna in shock, and the horrifying spectacle in front of him triggers memories of their previous meetings. It transpires that Anna had been having an affair with one of the professor's colleagues, and, in a flashback to a Sunday dinner party, it is revealed what part Stephen had to play in the fall-out from the relationship. Harold Pinter provides the script for Joseph Losey's examination of emotional tumult amongst the dreaming spires.
For more about Accident and the Accident Blu-ray release, see Accident Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on April 16, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Dirk Bogarde, Stanley Baker, Jacqueline Sassard, Michael York, Vivien Merchant, Delphine Seyrig
Director: Joseph Losey
» See full cast & crew
Accident Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, April 16, 2013
Joseph Losey's "Accident" (1967) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of StudioCanal. The supplemental features on the disc include an original trailer for the film; the French documentary film "A propos d'Accident"; interview with Harry Burton, director of Channel 4's Working with Pinter; interview with critic Tim Robey; archival episode of the TV program Camera Three; new video interview with John Coldstream, Dirk Bogarde's official biographer; and more. In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
A car crashes somewhere in the Oxford countryside. A middle-aged man quickly pulls out a beautiful girl from the car and takes her to his lavish home. The driver, a young man who has died on the spot, is left in the car. Soon after, the police arrive and begin asking questions.
A very long flashback follows.
Stephen (Dirk Bogarde, The Night Porter, The Damned), the middle-aged man, is a well respected philosophy professor who spends most of his time with fellow colleagues. They bore him to tears, but he does his best not to show it. At home, his pregnant wife, Rosalind (Vivien Merchant, Frenzy), also frustrates him, but he tries to be a good husband and father.
To escape the banality of everyday life, Stephen frequently fantasizes about an affair with Anna (Jacqueline Sassard, Violent Summer, Les Biches), one of his students. She is an Austrian princess who is engaged to William (Michael York), an aristocrat and a fellow student without any real friends. Eventually, Stephen gathers the courage to invite Anna and William to visit his country house and have lunch, hoping that he would be able to spend some time alone with her while her fiancée entertains his wife. Anna and William accept the invitation but arrive with Stephen's middle-aged colleague Charley (Stanley Baker, Hell is a City, The Guns of Navarone), who has the bad habit of speaking his mind.
Based on the novel by Nicholas Mosley, Accident, the second collaboration between American director Joseph Losey and British Nobel-prize winning playwright Harold Pinter, is a subdued yet very intense film that reminds of Hitchcock's best works. It is a giant puzzle in which different pieces are frequently realigned to effectively mislead the viewer. However, unlike Hitchcock's films, Accident also targets a wide range of social and cultural stereotypes. Naturally, it is as much of a thriller as it is a political statement.
The film is essentially divided into two large sections. In the first the focus of attention is on a series of quiet conflicts. While these conflicts emerge, Losey and Pinter cut open the ugly underbelly of academia, an elite system supposedly ruled by cynics and pseudo-moralists with different ambitions. The film quickly establishes a certain atmosphere which creates the impression that this is a rotten, often dangerous place.
In the second section there are profound character transformations followed by surprising confessions. But there isn't even a whiff of melodrama. After the confessions Stephen quietly retracts into his shell and life goes back to normal.
Accident is darker and far more subversive film than The Servant. At times it seems somewhat lethargic, but even the most casual exchanges between the main protagonists serve a very specific purpose. Indeed, the script is absolutely brilliant.
The acting is first-class. In a film in which silence is of utmost importance, Bogarde is enormously impressive as the repressed professor who struggles with powerful emotions. Baker also leaves a lasting impression as the outspoken cynic. York's acting debut is also a good one. Sassard looks somewhat cold at times but is still believable as the adventurous Austrian princess. Pinter also has a small cameo in the film.
Note: In 1967, Accident won the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival.
Accident Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.67:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Joseph Losey's Accident arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of StudioCanal.
Similar to The Servant, Accident has been recently restored and now looks simply marvelous on Blu-ray. Clearly, the high-definition transfer has been struck from a brand new scan and there are substantial improvements in every single area we address in our reviews. In addition to terrific detail and excellent shadow definition, there is also a wide range of healthy colors. Most of them are warm and well saturated, but there are also some light variations of brown, green and gray. As the action moves from one location to another, the basic colors also have a tendency to evolve, but overall color stability is indeed outstanding. Furthermore, there are no traces of excessive degraining corrections. Needless to say, the film has a terrific, very solid organic look. Sharpening corrections have not been applied either. Frame transitions are excellent. Also, around the edges there is absolutely no shimmer whatsoever. Lastly, large damage marks, cuts, debris, and stains have been removed as best as possible. All in all, Accident looks every bit as healthy and rich as Losey's The Servant. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray release. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Accident Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: English LPCM 2.0. For the record, StudioCanal have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
The dialog is very crisp and free of background hiss. Also, there are no high-frequency distortions. John Dankworth's jazzy score is lush and well rounded, but overall dynamic movement is modest. Obviously, however, this is directly related to the film's sound design.
Accident Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Accident Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I am unsure why Joseph Losey's Accident was not added to the StudioCanal Collection, but it is definitely one of the best looking catalog releases I've seen from the studio in a long time. Together with the masterful The Servant, it belongs in every serious collection. Hopefully, these two films will eventually be released on this side of the Atlantic so that North American aficionados can enjoy the new restorations. If you reside in Region-B land, place your orders now. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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Accident Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Accident Blu-ray - February 21, 2013
StudioCanal will release on Blu-ray director Joseph Losey's drama Accident (1967), starring Dirk Bogarde, Stanley Baker, and Jacqueline Sassard. The release will be available for purchase online and in shops across the United Kingdom on April 8th.
Accident Blu-ray Screenshots
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