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The Homecoming (1973)

 -  Drama  -  16 April 1977 (France)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 436 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 11 critic

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.

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Title: The Homecoming (1973)

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Paul Rogers ...
Max
...
...
Sam
Terence Rigby ...
Joey
...
Teddy
Vivien Merchant ...
Ruth
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Storyline

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 J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The share the house. They share the food. They share Teddy's wife. Such a nice happy family.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

16 April 1977 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Harold Pinter's The Homecoming  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ian Holm won the 1967 Tony Award (New York City) for Supporting or Features Actor in a Drama for "The Homecoming" as Lenny and recreated in this filmed production. See more »

Quotes

Max: Mind you, she wasn't such a bad woman. Even though it made me sick just to look at her rotten stinking face, she wasn't such a bad bitch. I gave her the best bleeding years of my life, anyway.
Lenny: Plug it, will you, you stupid sod, I'm trying to read the paper.
Max: Listen! I'll chop your spine off, you talk to me like that! You understand? Talking to your lousy filthy father like that!
Lenny: You know what, you're getting demented.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Harold Pinter's play of ugly psychological warfare within a family proves to be excellent movie material
17 July 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Max (Paul Rogers) is a surly pensioner who alternately venerates and vilifies his dead wife. Sam (Cyril Cusack), his brother, is a supercilious chauffeur. Lenny (Ian Holm) is a smiling, snake-like pimp. Joey (Terence Rigby) 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 (Michael Jayston), a philosophy professor living in California, comes back home for a visit. He brings his wife, Ruth (Vivien Merchant). 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.

At first the dialogue in Harold Pinter's play, little changed for this American Film Theatre production, seems arbitrarily elliptical and the characters' behavior perversely unmotivated, but the thing is so compelling that we realize there must be something more. There is a mad method to the characters' madness. The actors know what their characters are up to. Pinter knows what they're up to. They just don't hand us all the answers on a platter. Maybe Pinter is saying something about families and maybe he's saying something about women, but I think he simply created a set of very real characters and let them do their thing without bothering with a lot of explanations.

The director, Peter Hall, does a good job at staying out of the play's way. His camera does a few clumsy things that draw attention to itself, but mainly he gives the play the space to be what it is. This movie proves yet again that the confined space of a play can often be an advantage on the screen and doesn't necessarily need to be opened up.


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