Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

"Accident" Film Is a Dull Mishap

Cleveland Press September 30, 1967

The screenplay for "Accident," an English film, was written by playwright Harold Pinter and therein seems to lie the problem.

His characters have no outward life conversationally. Everything they say reveals a flock of guilt feelings and neuroses. The remarks are cryptic yet suggestive, but without consistency.

THE SETTING is an English university where two professors have yearnings outside their own marital bailiwicks. Intriguing to both of them is Jacqueline Sassard, girl friend of student Michael York.

The accident of the title happens at the beginning and occurs outside the house of one of the professors, Dirk Bogarde. Investigating, he pulls student Sassard out of the wreck. As she climbs out she steps on the face of her dead companion, York. Since this is emphasized it obviously is terribly symbolistic.

BOGARDE HIDES her from the police who never learn that she was driving, makes love to her and sends her on her way. A long flashback reconstructs the lives and inter-relationships of the characters, and terribly and messily interrelated they sure are.

Baker is the more successful philanderer and Bogarde more the observer throughout most of the film which develops slowly and tediously.

PINTER'S SCRIPT and Joseph Losey's direction are given to long pauses which may be terribly pregnant with meaning to them but emerge as moments of self conscious artiness. The whole affair is so dull that the plot never comes over as spicy as it sounds.

Bogarde is excellent as are his fellow performers and the color photography of the English countryside is crisp and handsome. Everything else is murky.