Directed by Joseph Losey, The Go-Between (1971) is based on the L.P. Hartley novel first published in 1953, and was adapted for the screen by Harold Pinter. However, this film is much more than a traditional literary adaptation and combines a modernity of manner and performance with an exploration of a range of contemporary issues within the relative safety of the past. The film rejects a nostalgic evocation of the past in favour of an insight into a life destroyed by the past. Young Leo Colston (Dominic Guard) visits Brandham Hall, home of his school friend Marcus Maudsley, and is received by Marcus’ wealthy family with flattering attention. Leo’s devotion to Marian (Julie Christie), Marcus’s beautiful and vivacious older sister, leads him into becoming a go-between, carrying her love letters to local farmer Ted Burgess (Alan Bates). It is the public discovery of their affair, combined with Ted’s subsequent suicide, which blights Leo’s life. For him, passion and the past will always be linked with pain, loss and shame.
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- The Go-Between: The Past, the Present and the 1970s
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