The Maids

1975

Drama / Romance

0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 67%
IMDb Rating 6.4 10 496

based on play or musical

Plot summary


Uploaded by: FREEMAN
August 06, 2022 at 09:30 AM

Top cast

Susannah York as Claire
Glenda Jackson as Solange
720p.BLU
864.05 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 34 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Prof_Lostiswitz 10 / 10

Maid Better than Most

The Maids is one of the great stage classics of the XX century, and this 1974 version does it full justice. American Film Theatre was an attempt to bring stage to screen; I had previously seen only one of their efforts, Rhinoceros, which was ruined by an attempt to shift the setting from France to America.

The Maids doesn't make that mistake; the setting is ostentatiously, gorgeously French. Glenda Jackson and Susannah York have British accents, but this still maintains the European feel of the piece...and their acting is superb. Their ability to project histrionics at just the right moment brings to life what would otherwise be a stagebound snooze. The exquisite composition of colours and textures in the apartment also makes for compelling viewing.

The story concerns two psychotic and resentful maids who hatch a variety of fantastic plots for killing Madame, their employer. Also, the have a ceremony which involves one of them dressing up as Madame and tormenting the other; it is obvious that there is a vast pool of venom underneath the surface pretence of kindness and consideration shown by Madame.

The dialogue is ritualized and stylized, almost like Shakespearean blank verse - one would expect no less from Jean Genet, who was like Shakespeare in many ways. You have to be willing to like prose-poetry, but it's worth giving it a chance.

I'm convinced that the play was a major influence on Fassbinder's "Petra von Kant"; that movie is reckoned to be a classic, but this one is even better, so more people should check it out.

Reviewed by TheLittleSongbird 7 / 10

Sins of the sisters

Whether one enjoys 'The Maids' is perhaps dependent on whether you're familiar with Jean Genet's play and what if familiar your thoughts on it are. Personally think that the play is an interesting one for its atmosphere and characterisation, but am never going to see it as one of my favourites. It is one of those plays that is going to divide people. The cast also drew me into seeing 'The Maids', having liked Susannah York and especially Glenda Jackson (loved in her case) in other things.

Despite the rating as of now here indicating otherwise, to me 'The Maids' is actually one of the better entries in the uneven American Film Theatre series. It is not my definition of a masterpiece by any stretch and like most films in the series one can tell that it is adapted from stage. But the cast are as good as one can get and the atmosphere is handled very well and faithfully. So yeah it is recommended, while not considering it a must see.

As was just said, 'The Maids' can feel somewhat stagebound. Evident in moments of dull pacing, an at times too confined setting and not always feeling opened up enough.

Especially early on. The dialogue rambles at times.

Like all the other films in the series, the best component is the acting. Jackson and York go at their roles full throttle and give hair-raising performances. Particularly Jackson. Their chemistry is dynamite, essential in making an adaptation of 'The Maids' work. One also mustn't overlook Vivien Merchant, anybody who loved her performance in 'The Homecoming' (speaking as one of those people) earlier in the series will love her formidable yet nuanced performance here.

The film is atmospherically shot and generally the setting is alive in colour and atmosphere. The score is suitably haunting without being melodramatic. The dialogue has its fair share of chills and tension, unashamedly melodramatic but it works within the story. Despite staginess, 'The Maids' nails the mood of the play, something 'Three Sisters' for example (another example of a mood driven play) struggled to do so. The character writing for the three leads is as rich and hard hittinh as ought.

Overall, well done and deserving of more credit. 7/10.

Reviewed by jastevens42 10 / 10

Does Genet justice

I first saw 'The Maids' on PBS in the early 1980s, and loved it. The American Film Series was briefly available in Betamax format, but has long been unavailable. Now the series has been released on VHS and DVD, and I am delighted.

At the time I was unfamiliar with the play; this film served as an introduction to Genet's work, and further to the so-called 'Theatre of the Absurd.' Glenda Jackson and Susannah York give absolutely incredible performances as Solange and Claire, the title characters, who take turns dressing as their mistress (played by Vivien Merchant), and abusing each other in a parody of the master/slave relationship. It is difficult to recapitulate the plot in the space provided. Being faithful to the source text, the film is very wordy, and with a lesser cast and director would probably be unwatchable, but if you like full-throttle acting by three of the twentieth century's best actresses, and don't need an edit every four seconds, this is worth your time.

Read more IMDb reviews

No comments yet

Be the first to leave a comment