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The Birthday Party (1968)

The down-at-heel lodger in a seaside boarding house is menaced by two mysterious strangers, who eventually take him away.

Director:

William Friedkin

Writer:

Harold Pinter (screenplay)
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Shaw ... Stanley Webber
Patrick Magee ... Shamus McCann
Dandy Nichols ... Meg Bowles
Sydney Tafler Sydney Tafler ... Nat Goldberg
Moultrie Kelsall ... Pete Bowles
Helen Fraser Helen Fraser ... Lulu
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Storyline

Based on Harold Pinter's enigmatic play about a border in a British seaside dwelling who is visited by two strangers. They torment him verbally, ask him idiotic unanswerable questions, force him to sit down and stand up, and give him a "party." Then, eventually, they take him away, a tongue-tied idiot. The trivial becomes the terrible, and with it a certain wonder, a certain pity. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 December 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Festa de Aniversário See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Black and White (some sequences)| Color (photographed in) (Eastman Color)
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There was a ten-day rehearsal period and the shoot went smoothly. Friedkin says the only tense exchange he had with Pinter in a year of working together came when Joseph Losey saw the movie and requested via Pinter that Friedkin cut out a mirror shot as it was too close to Losey's style; Friedkin refused as "I wasn't about to destroy the film's continuity to mollify Losey's ego". See more »

Quotes

Stanley Webber: How would you like to go away with me?
Lulu: What?
Stanley Webber: How would you like to go away with me?
Lulu: Where would we go?
Stanley Webber: Nowhere...
Lulu: Well that's a charming proposal.
Stanley Webber: There's nowhere to go, so we could just go, it wouldn't matter.
Lulu: We might as well stay here.
See more »

Connections

Version of ITV Play of the Week: The Birthday Party (1960) See more »

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User Reviews

good version of a weird play
2 December 2003 | by didi-5See all my reviews

Harold Pinter's work is infuriating at best, but this film version comes close to making some sense of 'The Birthday Party'. Dandy Nichols runs a boarding house in which oddball lodger Stanley lives (very well played by Robert Shaw) and when two unusual menacing visitors arrive (Patrick Magee and Sidney Tafler) events start to get progressively weirder. The play is dark, claustrophobic, and extremely clever, and the film plays on this - I particularly liked the sequence with the torchlight which had heaps of atmosphere. Not seen much, this version is now commercially available again and hopefully will be eventually viewed in the same light as other Pinter movies such as 'Accident'. It deserves better than it has had so far.


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