Now the standard version of such a story would be shown from the lovers in this case the richman's daughter Marian Maudsley (Julie Christie), and the tenant farmer Ted Burgess (Alan Bates). The emphasis here is based on the go-between, the boy Leo (Dominic Guard) who delivers messages between the two in which they set up their rendezvous. This firmly maintains the perspective of the child, and we only see the events unfold through his view of them. This technically limits every other character in a way since we only see them in the way they interact with the boy, which is obviously not exactly as they are. This includes Edward Fox, despite his scarred physical appearance, which is only explained briefly by someone else as a wound he received in the Boer War. That's all there is left to it, and as with every one else the perspective of Hugh is kept very tight. However Fox still does well within this frame in the majority of scenes as just an unassuming yet charming gentleman who is more than kind and courteous to his betrothed Marian, despite that she continues her efforts to meet Ted as frequently as she can.
Fox has two strikes against from the start then due to the film's perspective, but also being the other man which is traditionally a thankless role. Fox though thrives more effectively than any other member of the cast within this confinement. Most scenes with Fox are just Hugh being a pleasant enough fellow, which he does well. There is one scene though where he gets a chance for more when Leo alludes to the relationship between Marian and Ted directly to Hugh. Fox is downright brilliant in this scene as again what he says to the boy keeps everything properly respectable in his description of Ted as a lady killer. What's outstanding about Fox's work is that he says everything else silently in the scene. In his face as he hears the name mentioned Fox reveals the pain and discomfort of a man realizing he is not truly loved by his soon to be wife, but also portraying a definite acceptance of the situation all the same. It's a fantastic scene for Fox as he wholly establishes Hugh's own view of the affair without a word being said. After that remarkable moment Hugh returns to the background for the rest of the film, but Fox with that moment makes Hugh more than just a part of the background. This is a good performance as Fox makes the most out of a thin part.