Alfie Byrne is a middle-aged bus conductor in Dublin in 1963. He would appear to live a life of quiet desperation: he's gay, but firmly closeted, and his sister is always trying to find him... See full summary »
In the late 1930s Nella Last,a housewife aged 49,living in Barrow-in-Furness on the North West English coast,agrees to send details of her routine to the Mass observation project,a ... See full summary »
Andrew Crocker-Harris is an embittered and disliked teacher of Greek and Latin at a British public school. After nearly 20 years of service, he is being forced to retire on the pretext of ... See full summary »
This is the story of Magnus Pym, from his childhood to the end of his career in middle age. As a young man, there is little doubt that his father Rick was the most influential character in ... See full summary »
The young, bright and decent London tramp Alan Terry accidentally witnesses a mob execution. He gets away, but leaves enough evidence for them to come looking for him among the homeless, ... See full summary »
Hamm is blind and unable to stand; Clov, his servant, is unable to sit; Nagg and Nell are his father and mother, who are legless and live in dustbins. Together they live in a room with two windows, but there may be nothing at all outside.
Renowned Russian piano teacher Irina Sousatzka gets a new student - Bengali piano prodigy Manek. They are both immigrants in the UK and bond quickly. When Manek's single mother's business fails, he must make a career decision.
Charles is in control of his life; he is about to finish 6th form college and start at Oxford. He is 19 and wants an 'older' woman before he turns 20. Enter the beautiful Rachel, and ... See full summary »
Two separate people, a man and a woman, find something very stirring about the sea turtles in their tank at the London Zoo. They meet and form an odd, but sympathetic camaraderie as they ... See full summary »
Its Cheap Sunday Costume Drama Look Undermines An Otherwise Excellent, Low-Key, Pinter-Scripted Spy Thriller From An Interesting And Original Feminine Perspective
The Heat Of The Day is based on the novel by Elizabeth Bowen, set during a sweltering, stifling summer in London as World War II rages on. However, from the first scene, when Michael Gambon's enigmatic Harrison approaches Patricia Hodge's bemused Stella with an air of calculated menace, this TV film adaptation unmistakably bears the mark of Harold Pinter with its sense of growing, but suppressed, unease.
An important aspect of Pinter's film work, mirroring his work for theatre, is obsessed with the balance of power between people in relationships, particularly in inter-class relationships. Moreover, this is an understated balance of power, as communication becomes more concerned with muddying the water, thus obscuring the real situation.
In The Heat Of The Day, the common-looking, hefty Harrison quickly establishes an unlikely and unconventional relationship with the beautiful and well born Stella, a relationship with a balance of power weighed favourably towards him. This is because Harrison tells her that her high-powered lover, Robert, played by Michael York, is a spy and that he is the only one who can keep him from infamy and jail. It is clear what Harrison wants in return, but is he actually who he says he is? How does she find out while needing to stay discreet, in case Harrison is genuine and Robert really is a spy?
This is one of Pinter's better screenplays and the top-notch cast is on form. The Heat Of The Day is a low-key, subtle, contained, high-quality psychological thriller from an interesting and original feminine perspective. The fact that it was made for Independent British Television may be its problem. The film seems to have been made on a far too low budget and looks, therefore, stagy and old-fashioned, and could easily be dismissed as 1980's Sunday afternoon costume drama if it didn't have such an unquestionably subtle script and flair in its acting.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?