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Pinter On Screen

Laurence Olivier Presents: The Collection + The Lover

Two couples discuss what happened in a Leeds hotel room, plus a long-term relationship needs spicing up.

Image from Laurence Olivier Presents: The Collection + The Lover

Laurence Olivier Presents: The Collection

ITV 1976
Dir Michael Apted
With Laurence Olivier, Helen Mirren, Alan Bates, Malcolm McDowell
63min

First seen on television in 1961, and later on stage, this is a classic Pinter play that seems to be about the elusiveness of truth. It also shows, as two couples seek to resolve what took place one night in a Leeds hotel room, how people manipulate the unverifiable to their own advantage. Olivier, in a stellar cast, is unforgettable as a vindictive couturier.

The Lover

ITV 1963
Dir Joan Kemp-Welch
With Vivien Merchant, Alan Badel
63min

A brilliant play that suggests Noel Coward crossed with Jean Genet: a study in the way any long-term relationship needs to be sustained by fantasy and illusion. Pinter also revealingly suggests, as in The Collection, that women more easily cope with sexual roleplay and contain more equilibrium than men. Merchant and Badel are impeccable as a well-heeled couple spicing up the monotony of monogamy.


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