Born in Wisconsin in 1909, Joseph Losey studied medicine and English but soon drifted to New York City, where he became involved in theatre and worked together with the controversial German playwright Bertolt Brecht. He then caught the attention of MGM and started making short films such as A Gun in His Hand (1945). Losey directed his first feature film in 1947, entitled The Boy with Green Hair for RKO. Several other films followed which established him as an inventive, individualistic director. In 1951, Losey was summoned to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) while he was shooting Imbarco a mezzanotte in Italy. His links with left-wing theatre groups and the concern for social justice expressed in many of his films attracted the attention of the Committee and led to him being blacklisted.
Joseph Losey sought exile in Great Britain where he began re-building his career. His first British feature film, THE SLEEPING TIGER (1954), which was credited at the time to Victor Hanbury, saw the beginning of a long-lasting collaboration between the director and Dirk Bogarde. In 1960, now well established in the UK, Losey began to look for more adventurous projects such as THE CRIMINAL, starring an impeccable Stanley Baker as an underworld kingpin. The score of the film was composed by John Dankworth, whose career was to become inextricably linked with that of Losey. In 1962, he directed EVA, starring Jeanne Moreau and Stanley Baker, an examination of sexual obsession boasting one of Moreau’s most iconic performances. Joseph Losey continued his collaboration with Dirk Bogarde in THE SERVANT (1963), which saw Bogarde as the sinister manservant who manipulates his foppish master, and ACCIDENT (1967) about a university professor struggling to maintain control of his life. In 1970, Losey directed THE GO-BETWEEN, a costume drama starring Julie Christie and Alan Bates, which went on to win the Palme d’Or at the 1971 Cannes Film Festival. It is considered to be one of his best works, and was his third collaboration (after The Servant and Accident) with Harold Pinter who wrote the screenplay.
The final film in this set is MR. KLEIN (1976), starring Alain Delon, in which Joseph Losey tackled the dark subject of the Jewish repression in WWII France.
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