Films by Harold Pinter
Betrayal 1981
Jeremy Irons and Patricia Hodge

Directed by David Jones

Starring: Patricia Hodge, Jeremy Irons

Screenplay not published

Original play by Harold Pinter


I am reminded of the artist's practice of studying a view upside down from between the legs, compelling the mind to reassess the already familiar. Pinter's theatrical device of revealing the progress of an illicit love affair in reverse, from epilogue to prelude, slyly forewarns us of every deceit and makes us privy to the secret thoughts of the deceits that lie behind the prattle of social chitchat. It all sounds so artless and commonplace; but it is Pinter at his trenchant best with every worked having its special place and significance. And the three stars slip each work into its appointed place with all the seeing nonchalance of the media people they portray, who have learned all the arts of gracious living and abandoned the old-fashioned virtues of honesty and chastity. Every casual glance, every hint of a nervous twitch, every overemphasized attempt at face saving humour comes over as a secret to be shared with the viewer who knows the score.

Screen International, October 15th 1983


Further Reading

Melodramatic Problematics in Pinters' film of 'Betrayal' by Harriet A. Deer (Pinter Review 1990)

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