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Maids
     

The Maids

Director: Christopher Miles

Cast: Glenda Jackson, Susannah York, Vivien Merchant

 

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Directed by Christopher Miles, The Maids is a 1974 film version of the play by French absurdist writer Jean Genet. Solange (Glenda Jackson) and Claire (Susannah York) are two sisters who work as servants for a strict Madame (Vivian Merchant). When Madame and Monsieur (Mark Burns) leave the house, the two women enact dramatic role playing games. To get out their

Overview

Directed by Christopher Miles, The Maids is a 1974 film version of the play by French absurdist writer Jean Genet. Solange (Glenda Jackson) and Claire (Susannah York) are two sisters who work as servants for a strict Madame (Vivian Merchant). When Madame and Monsieur (Mark Burns) leave the house, the two women enact dramatic role playing games. To get out their sexual frustrations against their boss and each other, they alternate the parts of master and servant. They both love and hate the Madame passionately enough to plot her murder. During a particularly intense game of play, Claire accidentally drinks the poison that was meant for the Madame. The Maids is part of producer Ely Landau's American Film Theatre Series, which ran in select theaters from 1973-1975. In 2003, all 14 films in the series were given a wide release on home video from Kino International.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Like many of the entries in the well-intentioned American Film Theatre series, The Maids tries to remain true to both its theatrical origins and the different requirements of the cinema. It straddles the fence rather too severely, unfortunately, and, as a result, comes across as rather muddled and unsatisfying. Jean Genet's script has been faithfully recreated onscreen, but it's a transfer rather than an adaptation. As a result, dialogue that was stylized and dramatic on-stage often becomes stilted and ponderous onscreen. Genet's "Theatre of the Absurd" treatment of the story also needs a cinematic re-thinking; it cries out for a looser, more fluid lensing than it receives from director Christopher Miles. Instead, Miles has concentrated his efforts on his cast, and while this may make the film, as a whole, less than enthralling, it does provide viewers with some highly charged, occasionally overly theatrical, but always engrossing, performances from Glenda Jackson and Susannah York. No one can be as frighteningly acidic or embody evil as convincingly as Jackson, of course, but the surprise is how well York holds her own against this formidable presence. The chemistry between the two is electric and disturbing, and the intensity they bring to their parts is fascinating to watch.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/01/2003
UPC:
0738329042738
Original Release:
1975
Rating:
PG
Source:
Kino Video

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