6.7/10
396
10 user 5 critic

The Birthday Party (1968)

The down-at-heel lodger in a seaside boarding house is menaced by two mysterious strangers, who eventually take him away.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Patrick Magee ...
Dandy Nichols ...
Sydney Tafler ...
Moultrie Kelsall ...
Helen Fraser ...
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Storyline

Based on Harold Pinter's enigmatic play about a border in a British seaside dwelling who is visited by two strangers. They torment him verbally, ask him idiotic unanswerable questions, force him to sit down and stand up, and give him a "party." Then, eventually, they take him away, a tongue-tied idiot. The trivial becomes the terrible, and with it a certain wonder, a certain pity. Written by alfiehitchie

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Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

9 December 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Festa de Aniversário  »

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(some sequences)| (Technicolor)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie was a passion project of director William Friedkin who called it "the first film I really wanted to make, understood and felt passionate about". He had first seen the play in San Francisco in 1962, and managed to get the film version funded by Edgar J. Scherick at Palomar Pictures, in part because it could be made relatively cheaply. Pinter wrote the screenplay himself and was heavily involved in casting. "To this day I don't think our cast could have been improved," wrote Friedkin later. See more »

Quotes

Stanley Webber: How would you like to go away with me?
Lulu: What?
Stanley Webber: How would you like to go away with me?
Lulu: Where would we go?
Stanley Webber: Nowhere...
Lulu: Well that's a charming proposal.
Stanley Webber: There's nowhere to go, so we could just go, it wouldn't matter.
Lulu: We might as well stay here.
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Connections

Referenced in AmnesiA (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

good version of a weird play
2 December 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Harold Pinter's work is infuriating at best, but this film version comes close to making some sense of 'The Birthday Party'. Dandy Nichols runs a boarding house in which oddball lodger Stanley lives (very well played by Robert Shaw) and when two unusual menacing visitors arrive (Patrick Magee and Sidney Tafler) events start to get progressively weirder. The play is dark, claustrophobic, and extremely clever, and the film plays on this - I particularly liked the sequence with the torchlight which had heaps of atmosphere. Not seen much, this version is now commercially available again and hopefully will be eventually viewed in the same light as other Pinter movies such as 'Accident'. It deserves better than it has had so far.


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