by William Friedkin
Starring: Robert Shaw Patrick Magee, Sydney Tafler,
Not published as a screenplay Original play by
The Birthday Party
is a study of domination that sows doubts, terrors, shuddering
illuminations and terrifying apprehensions inside the four walls
of a living-room in a seaside boarding-house where Stanley, (Robert
Shaw), the lodger, has taken refuge from some guilt, crime, treachery,
in fact Some Thing, never named.
The baiting scene is resonant with the menace
that Pinter achieves by striking a note somewhere out of our hearing
and then letting us listed to the reverberation.
February 12th 1970, Evening Standard
The Birthday Party is in effect a fantasia
of fear and prosecution. Pinter's ear is so keen, his method so
economic and so shrewdly stylized, balancing humdrum realistic
notations with suggestions of unfathomable violence, that his
play succeeds in being both funny and horrific.
Harold Clurman, The Nation,
January 6th 1969