IMDb > The Heat of the Day (1989) (TV)

The Heat of the Day (1989) (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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Release Date:
30 September 1990 (USA) See more »
Plot Keywords:
DVD Playhouse: January 2010
 (From The Hollywood Interview. 18 January 2010, 8:20 PM, PST)

User Reviews:
Its Cheap Sunday Costume Drama Look Undermines An Otherwise Excellent, Low-Key, Pinter-Scripted Spy Thriller From An Interesting And Original Feminine Perspective See more (1 total) »


  (in credits order)

Michael Gambon ... Harrison

Patricia Hodge ... Stella

Michael York ... Robert
Ralph Michael ... Francis
Tina Earl ... Parlour Maid
Hilary Mason ... Mrs. Tringsby

Peggy Ashcroft ... Nettie
John Gill ... Dr. Tringsby
Aubrey Phillips ... Taxi Driver
Stephen Hancock ... Blythe

Imelda Staunton ... Louie
Grant Parsons ... Roderick

Anna Carteret ... Ernestine
Heather Chasen ... Mrs. Kelway
Rafael Pauley ... Peter
Jessica Simpson ... Anne
David Kelley ... Donovan
Pat O'Toole ... Hannah
Grace Kinirons ... Mary

Directed by
Christopher Morahan 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Elizabeth Bowen  novel
Harold Pinter 

Produced by
June Wyndham-Davies .... producer
Original Music by
Ilona Sekacz 
Film Editing by
Andrew Sumner 
Production Design by
Christopher J. Bradshaw 
Costume Design by
Jane Robinson 
Camera and Electrical Department
Jon Woods .... lighting cameraman
Other crew
Rodney Dodson .... location chef

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Germany:106 min

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Movie Connections:
Don't Sit Under the Apple TreeSee more »


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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
Its Cheap Sunday Costume Drama Look Undermines An Otherwise Excellent, Low-Key, Pinter-Scripted Spy Thriller From An Interesting And Original Feminine Perspective, 5 October 2007
Author: Afzal Shaikh from London, England

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.

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