6.7/10
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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:
...
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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Release Date:

9 December 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Festa de Aniversário  »

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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

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

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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