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Pinter On Screen

The Room + The Dumb Waiter

+ intro by actor Kenneth Cranham

A double-bill of bedsit and basement invaders; two thrilling stories, wonderfully told.

Image from The Room + The Dumb Waiter

The Room

Television Playhouse, ITV 1961
Dir Alvin Rakoff
With Catherine Lacey, JG Devlin, Daniel Massey

Rose, a nervously talkative woman, finds her bedsit invaded by a succession of visitors: her landlord; a young married couple; a mysterious blind man living in the basement. With his first stage play, Pinter thrillingly lays out the territory he was to make very much his own – the distinctive character of rooms, the perils of withdrawal from the outside world, the inescapable demands of the past. An astonishing debut.

The Dumb Waiter

Summer Season, BBC 1985
Dir Kenneth Ives
With Colin Blakely, Kenneth Cranham

A couple of contract killers await instructions in a deserted basement only to find their orders turning into ever more grotesque requests for food from the restaurant above. Brief, bleak and funny, the piece was one of Pinter’s earliest plays and combines the staccato rhythms of music hall cross-talk with a mounting sense of terror, as if the Hackney Empire of his youth had cross-fertilised with Hemingway’s The Killers.


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