Thursday, December 25, 2008

Harold Pinter


Playwright, screenwriter, poet, essayist, actor, director, conscientious objector, and political activist, Pinter's theatrical career was bookended by two colossal flops. The Birthday Party, his first professionally produced play, was considered one of the biggest disasters of the post-war era. His final screenplay, an adaptation (and remake) of Anthony Shaffer's Sleuth, was a critical and financial bomb. In between, he produced a body of work which places him alongside Beckett as one of the most influential theatrical writers of the 20th century.


The Room (1957)
The Birthday Party (1957), at right
The Dumb Waiter (1957)
A Slight Ache (1958)
The Hothouse (1958)
The Caretaker (1959)
A Night Out (1959)
Night School (1960)
The Dwarfs (1960)
The Collection (1961)
The Lover (1962)
Tea Party (1964)
The Homecoming (1964)
The Basement (1966)
Landscape (1967)
Silence (1968)
Old Times (1970)
Monologue (1972)
No Man's Land (1974), at right
Betrayal (1978)
Family Voices (1980)
A Kind of Alaska (1982)
Victoria Station (1982)
One for the Road (1984)
Mountain Language (1988)
The New World Order (1991)
Party Time (1991)
Moonlight (1993)
Ashes to Ashes (1996)
Celebration (1999)
Remembrance of Things Past (2000) [Stage adapt. of The Proust Screenplay; a collaboration with Di Trevis.]


The Caretaker (1963)
The Servant (1963), picture at right
The Pumpkin Eater (1963)
The Compartment (1963) [Screenplay for unproduced film; adapt. for stage as The Basement (play)]
The Quiller Memorandum (1965)
Accident (1966)
The Birthday Party (1968)
The Go-Between (1969)
The Homecoming (1969)
Langrishe, Go Down (1970; adapt. for TV 1978; film release 2002]
The Proust Screenplay (1972) [Published 1978, but unproduced for film; adapt. by Harold Pinter and director Di Trevis for the stage (2000) Remembrance of Things Past]
The Last Tycoon (1974)
The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), below
Betrayal (1983)
Victory (1982) [Published but unproduced]
Turtle Diary (1984)
The Handmaid's Tale (1987)
Reunion (1988)
The Heat of the Day (1988) [adapt. for TV]
The Comfort of Strangers (1989)
Party Time (1992) (Rev. & adapt. for TV)
The Trial (1993)
"Lolita" (1994) [Unpublished and unproduced]
"The Dreaming Child" (1997) [Published but unproduced]
"The Tragedy of King Lear" (2000) [Unpublished and unproduced]
Sleuth (2007)

Pinter was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005. In a videotaped response which has become the most famous Nobel acceptance speech in history, he delivered a vitriolic diatribe against American foreign policy, including this sensational accusation: "The United States supported and in many cases engendered every rightwing military dictatorship in the world after the end of the second world war". (He then proceeded to provide examples.)

In honor of one of the great voices of contemporary drama, let us (ahem)


Merry Christmas