6.8/10
451
10 user 7 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:
...
...
Shamus McCann
Dandy Nichols ...
Meg Bowles
Sydney Tafler ...
...
Pete Bowles
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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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

 
Great early Harold!
14 December 2004 | by See all my reviews

A wonderful play (which I've directed in the 80's) that cuts a scene from the play with Lulu..but is still PINTER! What can you say about this '58 play (film '68) except to say it's INTENSE. Robert Shaw as Stanley (post-James Bond and pre-Jaws and pre-The Sting)..most Americans (no offence)..don't even know who this guy is. Anyway, it's a brilliant parody of English (and everybody in the 50's) take on the one artist. Sidney Taffler as Goldberg is comical, frightening, bossy, and just plain "too much there". Patrick MaGee as McCann (A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, BARRY LYNDON, Kubrick.etc.) is lone newspaper-ripping non-horror (or so you think) DUDE, who hung out with the The Beatles.

Decent version of a great early play of a genius..which bombed..duh? Stick with Meg and Petey and you can't go wrong or right. 20 years ahead of it's time as a play and 10 years...right.


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