6.8/10
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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:
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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

There was a ten-day rehearsal period and the shoot went smoothly. Friedkin says the only tense exchange he had with Pinter in a year of working together came when Joseph Losey saw the movie and requested via Pinter that Friedkin cut out a mirror shot as it was too close to Losey's style; Friedkin refused as "I wasn't about to destroy the film's continuity to mollify Losey's ego". 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 Post Mortem with Mick Garris: William Friedkin (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ignore the story; adore the actors!
26 March 2006 | by (New York, USA) – See all my reviews

As one of this world's more zealous Robert Shaw fans, I feel obliged to put this gem in every once in a while and follow Shaw's every move. I must say, this film amazes me; it confounds me every time. There's only one emotion that overwhelms my passion for Mr. Shaw's gift in front of the camera--irritation--and it's aimed right straight at the storyline. You will find yourself wondering what's going on and why, as the actors' performances blind you with their shabby, touching directness. Don't let the story creep and seep too far into your brain. The story will cloud your ability to appreciate what this film is full of--brilliant, golden performances. They all shine, especially Shaw as poor Stanley. I enjoy watching films that take me to England in the 60s. The surroundings are dreary and depressing and totally marvelous. This film is well worth seeing; but, once again, I warn you--ignore the story; adore the actors! Oh, and an extra bonus (for what it is worth)-- After watching this film, you'll never look at a newspaper the same way again, I guarantee you. Enjoy!


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