Accident (1967 film)

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Accident movie poster.jpg
Directed by Joseph Losey
Produced by Joseph Losey
Norman Priggen
Written by Harold Pinter (screenplay)
based on the novel by Nicholas Mosley
Starring Dirk Bogarde
Stanley Baker
Jacqueline Sassard
Music by John Dankworth
Cinematography Gerry Fisher
Edited by Reginald Beck
Distributed by London Independent Producers
Release dates February 1967
Running time 105 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £299,970[1]

Accident is Harold Pinter's 1967 British dramatic film adaptation of the 1965 novel by Nicholas Mosley. Directed by Joseph Losey, it is the second of three collaborations between Pinter and Losey, the others being The Servant (1963) and The Go-Between (1970).[2] At the 1967 Cannes Film Festival it won the award for Grand Prix Spécial du Jury.[3] It also won the prestigious Grand Prix of the Belgian Film Critics Association.


The story centers on a married Oxford professor, Stephen, who is experiencing a mid-life crisis. The world changes for him when he meets Anna, a beautiful young student, who is engaged to another of his students, William. Following a car accident outside Stephen's home in which William is killed and Anna is severely disoriented, she is obliged to remain with Stephen although his wife is out of town. The events preceding the accident are told in flashbacks. While Stephen believes that he is orchestrating a tryst with Anna that will leave both his wife and William in the dark, he soon discovers that Anna is playing a game of her own.

The crowning metaphor of the film comes at a point in one of the flashbacks when we see a dazed but unhurt Anna crushing her dying fiancé beneath her high-heeled shoe as she steps on his face while trying desperately to climb out of the overturned car.

The screenplay showcased playwright Harold Pinter's trademark style, depicting the menace and angst bubbling just beneath the surface of commonplace remarks and seemingly innocent or banal situations.



The film confused many viewers who were not sure what it meant. "It's obvious what Accident meant," said Stanley Baker. "It meant what was shown on the screen." Baker did concede that, "One of Joe's problems is that he tends to wrap things up too much for himself. I think that 75% of the audience didn't realise that Accident was a flashback."[5] The New York Times critic, Bosley Crowther, was unimpressed calling the film "a sad little story of a wistful don" that was "neither strong drama nor stinging satire".[6]


  1. ^ Edith de Rham, Joseph Losey, Andre Deutsch 1991 p 180
  2. ^ Nick James (2007-06-27). "Joseph Losey & Harold Pinter: In Search of PoshLust Times". BFI. British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 19 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-19. From Venetian decadence and British class war to Proustian time games, the films of Joseph Losey and Harold Pinter gave us a new, ambitious, high-culture kind of art film, says Nick James. 
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Accident". Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  4. ^ identifies this child actor with Carole Caplin, a "New Age guru" who was the style adviser to Cherie Blair; that this person is the same "Carole Caplin" has not been verified. See also: Paul Scott (2008-05-12). "Revenge, Money... What's Really Driving Cherie Blair" (Web). Daily Mail (Associated Newspapers). Retrieved 2009-03-26. … Miss Caplin, the topless model turned New Age guru who was to become the most influential of Cherie's strange coterie. 
  5. ^ Mary Blume, 'Stanley Baker Likes to Act', Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 14 Aug 1971: a8.
  6. ^ Crowther, Bosley (18 April 1967). "'Accident' Opens:Cinema II Has a Movie With Pinter Script". The New York Times. 

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