Films by Harold Pinter
The Birthday Party 1967

Directed by William Friedkin

Starring: Robert Shaw Patrick Magee, Sydney Tafler, Dandy Nichols

Not published as a screenplay Original play by Harold Pinter


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

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