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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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 »
I mean, you needn't tell them she's your wife.
No, we'd call her something else. Dolores, or something.
Or Spanish Jacky.
No, you've got to be reserved about it, Dad. We could call her something nice... like Cynthia... or Gillian.
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The first thing that should be emphasised I think is if you you get the chance I strongly recommend you see the play at the theatre, somehow Pinter's famous pauses seem longer on the stage, and the claustrophobia of the piece is maintained far better than when you watch it on the screen. Nevertheless if you have seen the play (or even if you haven't) you really should watch this film version. Firstly it is directed by the fantastic Peter Hall, one of the great stage directors of the era (and still a great stage director) and thus he is able to remain true to the stage format of the play, while also maintaining a strong cinematic emphasis, this is not just a recording of a stage play. Secondly it features some truly fine actors including the fantastic Vivienne Merchant. Being Pinter's wife she seems to have a unique understanding of the words and is able to convey this onto the audience, her first conversation when she meets Lenny (Ian Holm) particularly sticks in the mind. Ian Holm and Paul Rogers are also fantastic along with the rest of the cast who have names as well known on the stage as they are on the screen. Overall I don't believe I've seen a finer adaptation of a play for the screen.
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