Author Topic: Pinter at the movies.  (Read 3653 times)

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Offline regal26

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Re: Pinter at the movies.
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2008, 07:56:52 PM »
Agreed.

I'd also like to mention some of his problematic adaptations.

Specifically, Turtle Diary (with Glenda Jackson and Ben Kingsley), in which Pinter has a small cameo. I thought the film had interesting characters and ideas but opted for sentimentality towards the end. Still, worth a look. Jackson and Kingsley are an interesting pair (and Michael Gambon has an odd supporting part as a zoo keeper).

Pinter's adaptation of Kafka's the Trial (with Kyle MacLachlan and Anthony Hopkins). The script was okay, but MacLachlan was miscast as Joseph K, and the film is not as visual creative as the Orson Welles' version.

Finally, Pinter's adaptation of Sleuth. I personally think this one was a misfire on everyone's part. Brannagh's direction is leaden and uninvolving. Michael Caine should have rested on his laurels with the original. Pinter's literary style does not really serve the nature of the plot (Anthony Schaffer's original play had wonderfully prosaic lines about one-upmanship which this remake is sorely in need of).

Okay, that's my rant for the day.

However, definitely check out Butley. If you can, get a hold of Losey's The Romantic Englishwoman (very odd film) or Figures in a Landscape (an intellectual(?) action movie with minimal dialogue and Robert Shaw and Malcolm McDowell can't be completely devoid of interest!)

Offline Iain Fisher

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Re: Pinter at the movies.
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2008, 06:47:25 PM »
The Servant and Accident were real classics.

The Servant was menacing in a slow insidious way, Dirk Bogarde (trying to break out of his film-idol mode- his previous film was Doctor in Distress) and James Fox were a good pairing.  The novel by Robin Maugham (related to W Somerset Maugham) is worth reading.

The bit I liked most in Accident was the restaurant scene, scatterings of dialogue from each table as the camera bobs in and out.

I can't remember much of Go-Between and am not sure if I have seen Butley, so need to add them to my rental list.

Pinter has scripted a wide range of films, as well as his own work, including The Quiller Memorandum, The Handmaids Tail, The Comfort of Strangers and he has acted in an equally broad range of cameos (Rogue Male, Wit, Breaking the Code).

The best film of his own work (I think) is the early Caretaker with Alan Bates (as you say, always great), Donald Pleasance and Robert Shaw.  Each actor totally captures the role and they bring out the humour as well as the darker side.

Offline regal26

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Re: Pinter at the movies.
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2008, 06:58:16 PM »
Thinking about Harold Pinter's involvement with filmmaking also reminded me of his fruitful collaboration with American-born director Joseph Losey.

The three films they made together, 'The Servant,' 'Accident', and 'The Go-Between' are all great films (The Servant in particular being a great synthesis of Losey and Pinter's inidivudal perspectives).

It's too bad that Losey's work outside of that collaboration is so maddingly uneven (Modesty Blaise and The Assassination of Trotsky are not exactly sparkling additions to his resume, on the other hand, I think Figures in a Landscape and The Romantic Englishwoman certainly have Pinter-esque overtones).

Offline regal26

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Pinter at the movies.
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2008, 07:55:45 PM »
Just saw Simon Gray's 'Butley': Harold Pinter's only real stab at directing a feature film (not counting some TV work). For a film set completely in a grubby office, the films moves along pretty well. Pinter's camera is unobtrusive and the actors are all exemplary.

Alan Bates was great (as usual). Jessica Tandy, too.