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The Birthday Party (1968)

G  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller  |  9 December 1968 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 344 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 4 critic

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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Release Date:

9 December 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Festa de Aniversário  »

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Did You Know?

Quotes

Nat Goldberg: But a birthday, I always feel, is a great occasion, taken too much for granted these days. What a thing to celebrate, birth! Like getting up in the morning. Marvelous! Some people don't like the idea of getting up in the morning. I've heard them. Getting up in the morning, they say, what is it? Your skin's crabby, you need a shave, your eyes are full of muck, your mouth is like a boghouse, the palms of your hands are full of sweat, your nose is clogged up, your feet stink, what are you but a ...
[...]
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Connections

Version of Syntymäpäivät (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant
21 September 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Harold Pinter's brilliant early play-on-film, The Birthday Party, is one of his best efforts, and perhaps, with The Homecoming, the pinnacle of the Theater of the Absurd. The plot itself is simple. Two men come to visit Stanley, a classical pianist who has, for unknown reasons, left his home and is staying with a provincial couple. He is visited by Shamus McCann (Patrick McGee) and Nat Goldberg (Sydney Tafler). They alternately celebrate and menace Stanley, who may or may or may not know them. Nothing is clearly stated. Most of the dialogue consists of insinuations and vague threats. Performances across the board are outstanding, with Robert Shaw outdoing himself as Stanley Weber. Moultrie Keisall as Petey is excellent but understated, and his final words really put the cherry on the birthday cake. (sorry for the pun). Nothing I can say can communicate the unique strangeness and power of this film. Top marks, 5 stars, classic.


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