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Pinter On Screen

The Birthday Party

William Friedkin’s faithful adaptation of Pinter’s classic play, about a lodger who’s menaced by two mysterious strangers.

Image from The Birthday Party

UK 1968
Dir William Friedkin
With Robert Shaw, Patrick Magee, Dandy Nichols
124min
35mm
Certificate 15

Brutally rejected by critics on its first appearance in 1958, this early Pinter play is now regarded as a modern classic. As the shabby Stanley hides away in dingy seaside digs, two figures from an unnamed organisation arrive, and a populist thriller turns into a political work about the imperative need for resistance. A faithful adaptation by Friedkin, who went on to direct The French Connection and The Exorcist.

Plus animated sketch Black and White (1969. Dir Gerald Potterton. 5min).


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