The Go-Between, the last of three collaborations between director Joseph Losey and screenwriter Harold Pinter, plays on Turner Classic Movies as part of a festival of Julie Christie features. I wrote an essay for the website to celebrate the screening.
Based on the acclaimed semi-autobiographical novel by L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between (1970) is a coming-of-age tale with a devastating lesson. It takes place over a few summer weeks in a grand country manor at the turn of the century and focuses on the experiences of a twelve-year-old boy from a respectable but poor family; he becomes entangled in a secret romance played out under the cover of the mores and manners and hypocrisies of an aristocratic family that reverberates over the course of decades.
Dominic Guard made his feature debut as Leo, a sensitive and sincere boy who is not part of this family’s world, but merely a tourist in a culture where social standing defines every relationship. Leo is tolerated and at times even doted upon, like a favored pet, perhaps, and he’s smitten by Marian, the beautiful older sister who smiles favorably upon him. When he meets Ted Burgess, a nearby tenant farmer, he’s drafted into becoming the secret “postman” between the two. It’s a mere game for the boy, who is thrilled to be part of this grown-up secret, but a dangerous affair for Marian, who is to be engaged to a genuine aristocrat. Leo isn’t judgmental but his innocence and his uncomplicated sense of right and wrong and loyalty tear at his fragile emotional make-up when he becomes aware of what’s really going.
Read the complete feature here. The film, which is not on DVD, plays on TCM on Monday, August 2.