In a dreary North London flat, the site of perpetual psychological warfare, a philosophy professor visits his family after a nine-year absence and introduces the four men - father, uncle and two brothers - to his wife.
Gunnar is a sociologist in his fifties who has written countless self-help books. He lives in a beautiful house that is way too big for him and Dísa, his wife of thirty years. Their ... See full summary »
Björn Hlynur Haraldsson
Sveinn Ólafur Gunnarsson,
Olga, Masha, and Irina Prozoroff lead lonely and purposeless lives following the death of their father who has commanded the local army post. Olga attempts to find satisfaction in teaching ... See full summary »
The Walton family is preparing for Christmas in the early 1930s. It's Christmas eve and they are waiting for father Walton to come home from his job in the city some 50 miles away. Since he... See full summary »
Aston (Robert Shaw), a quiet, reserved man, lives alone in a top-floor cluttered room of a small abandoned house in a poor London district. He befriends and takes in Mac Davies (Donald ... See full summary »
The reviewer above states that 'the entire story is told from the husband's point of view'. This is incorrect - the movie takes an objective point-of-view - the husband is not present in several of the segments.
Film screenwriter Jake Armitage and his wife Jo Armitage live in London with six of Jo's eight children, with the two eldest boys at boarding school. The children are spread over Jo's three... See full summary »
Max is a surly pensioner who alternately venerates and vilifies his dead wife. Sam, his brother, is a supercilious chauffeur. Lenny is a smiling, snake-like pimp. Joey is a thick-witted, would-be boxer. These four men live together in a North London flat, the site of their perpetual sadomasochistic battle of words and sometimes physical violence. And then after nine years, Max's third son, Teddy, a philosophy professor living in California, comes back home for a visit. He brings his wife, Ruth. She is immediately drawn in to the family's ugly psychological games and quickly proves a worthy opponent. Soon, the game involves both of Teddy's brothers taking extreme liberties with Ruth, as the coiled Teddy obstinately refuses to spoil the malicious fun by objecting. Written by
The original Broadway production of "The Homecoming" by Harold Pinter opened at the Music Box Theater in New York on January 5, 1967, ran for 324 performances and won the 1967 Tony Award (New York City) for the Best Play. Ian Holm, Vivien Merchant and Terence Rigby reprise their roles in the filmed production. Ian Holm won the 1967 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play and Vivien Merchant was nominated for the 1967 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. The play's author also wrote the screenplay play for this filmed production. See more »
Have a sip. Go on. Have a sip from my glass. Sit on my lap. Take a long cool sip. Put your head back and open your mouth.
Take that glass away from me.
Lie on the floor. Go on. I'll pour it down your throat.
What are you doing, making me some kind of proposal?
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"There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false." - Harold Pinter
Ely Landau's American Film Theater production of Harold Pinter's The Homecoming, directed by Peter Hall, has just been released on DVD as part of a retrospective of the AFT's two years of outstanding film versions of selected plays. An engrossing rendition of Pinter's disturbing play, The Homecoming is brilliant in its malevolent and macabre humor and the performances are first rate. On the surface it is a depiction of a slightly mad family in which two brothers lust over a third brother's wife. Underneath it is a surreal caricature of domestic life that focuses on the dark impulses that lie beneath the thin veneer of civility. In Pinter's view, what passes for authentic behavior is merely a cover for the irrational and the play demonstrates how power and memory can be used as tools of control. As in all of Pinter's work, the dialogue is razor sharp and often over the top, consisting of verbal thrusts and parries, ridicules, strategies, mutual warfare, and maneuvering for position.
Set in an older but spacious house in North London, the men prowl around each other like animals ready for the kill. Their mother Jessie is dead. The remaining family consists of two brothers, their father and uncle. Max (Paul Rogers), the menacing, slightly demented but still roaring old patriarch is a retired butcher with an acid tongue. His brother, Sam, a chauffeur is an unmarried man in his sixties and something of a dandy. The brothers are both working class louts. Lenny, delightfully performed by a dapper Ian Holm, is a sleazy pimp and borderline criminal, while Joey (Terence Rigby) is a demolitions expert and would-be boxer who spends most of his spare time training at the local gym.
The equilibrium is disturbed when the oldest brother Teddy (Michael Jayston), a Professor of Philosophy, arrives with Ruth, his wife of nine years Ruth (Pinter's wife at the time, Vivien Merchant) in London to visit the family she has never met. The focus of the hostility is now focused on the young couple and the father unleashes one tirade after another, calling Ruth a slut and a whore. From the beginning there is tension in the relationship between Teddy and Ruth and they both seem uncomfortable. The dialogue between family members is filled with comic touches and the characters use threats, intimidation, and power games to gain advantage over each other.
Even Ruth, a woman who has been exploited successfully plays off one brother against the other and both against her husband. Rationality becomes less and less apparent as the play progresses with the two younger brothers making passes at Ruth in front of her bewildered and strangely passive husband. Teddy only watches as Ruth joins with his brothers, perhaps because he realizes that on the deepest level he has been separate from her for years. The Homecoming is a work that does not yield to immediate deciphering and has given critics much to chew on for thirty-nine years. Pinter's plays are not about psychological realism and the actions of his characters are not always coherent or rational. He moves easily from realism to surrealism, and it is often difficult to distinguish between the reality and the dream.
One critic said, "Like Buñuel, Pinter demonstrated that only a slight shift in perspective is needed to make human behavior appear insane, and showed how easily the veneer of 'civilization' can be swept aside in favor of something more revealing". The Homecoming can be looked at it in many ways and there is enough ambiguity to allow the audience to interpret it from their own frame of reference. As Pinter biographer Michael Billington notes, "You can never say with Pinter that one interpretation is wholly right or another wholly wrong. What you can say, with reasonable certainty, is that the play continues to get under our collective skins". It definitely got under mine but I loved every minute of it.
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