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Pinter at the BBC (5 DVD set) Pinter at the BBC (5 DVD set)

5-DVD set featuring 10 BBC adaptations of the great British playwright’s work

5-DVD set featuring 10 BBC adaptations of the great British playwright’s work

£29.99

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"Truth in drama is forever elusive. You never quite find it, but the search for it is compulsive"

Harold Pinter on receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005

Harold Pinter (1930-2008) was one of the most important and influential British playwrights of the last century. While best known for his work for the stage, this collection celebrates Pinter’s significant contribution to television. His work for the screen shares many of the qualities of that for the stage, from a fascination with the private roots of power and an abiding preoccupation with memory, to a belief in the agency of women. Featuring 10 previously unavailable plays made for the BBC between 1965 and 1988, and a dazzling array of British acting talent including Michael Gambon, Julie Walters, Leo McKern, Vivien Merchant, John Le Mesurier and Miranda Richardson.

The Plays:

  • Tea Party (Charles Jarrott, 1965) • A Slight Ache (Christopher Morahan, 1967)
  • A Night Out (Christopher Morahan, 1967) • The Basement (Charles Jarrott, 1967)
  • Monologue (Christopher Morahan, 1972) • Old Times (Christopher Morahan, 1975)
  • The Hothouse (Harold Pinter, 1982) • Landscape (Kenneth Ives, 1983)
  • The Birthday Party (Kenneth Ives, 1987) • Mountain Language (Harold Pinter, 1988)

 Extras:

  • Writers in Conversation: Harold Pinter (1984, 47 mins): an ICA interview with Harold Pinter by Benedict Nightingale
  • Pinter People (1969, 16 mins): a series of four animated films written by Harold Pinter 
  • Face to Face: Harold Pinter (1997, 39 mins): Sir Jeremy Isaacs interviews Harold Pinter, who discusses the images and events which have inspired some of his most powerful dramas
  • Harold Pinter Guardian Interview (1996, 73 mins, audio only): an extensive interview recorded at the National Film Theatre
  • Illustrated booklet with new writing by Michael Billington, John Wyver, Billy Smart, Amanda Wrigley, David Rolinson and Lez Cooke, and full film credits

 

UK | 1965-1988 | black and white, and colour | 628 mins | English language with optional hard-of-hearing subtitles
original aspect ratio 1.33:1 | 5 x DVD9 | PAL | Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio (192kbps)
© BBC 1965-1988. Distributed under licence from the British Broadcasting Corporation.
 

"Truth in drama is forever elusive. You never quite find it, but the search for it is compulsive"

Harold Pinter on receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005

Harold Pinter (1930-2008) was one of the most important and influential British playwrights of the last century. While best known for his work for the stage, this collection celebrates Pinter’s significant contribution to television. His work for the screen shares many of the qualities of that for the stage, from a fascination with the private roots of power and an abiding preoccupation with memory, to a belief in the agency of women. Featuring 10 previously unavailable plays made for the BBC between 1965 and 1988, and a dazzling array of British acting talent including Michael Gambon, Julie Walters, Leo McKern, Vivien Merchant, John Le Mesurier and Miranda Richardson.

The Plays:

  • Tea Party (Charles Jarrott, 1965) • A Slight Ache (Christopher Morahan, 1967)
  • A Night Out (Christopher Morahan, 1967) • The Basement (Charles Jarrott, 1967)
  • Monologue (Christopher Morahan, 1972) • Old Times (Christopher Morahan, 1975)
  • The Hothouse (Harold Pinter, 1982) • Landscape (Kenneth Ives, 1983)
  • The Birthday Party (Kenneth Ives, 1987) • Mountain Language (Harold Pinter, 1988)

 Extras:

  • Writers in Conversation: Harold Pinter (1984, 47 mins): an ICA interview with Harold Pinter by Benedict Nightingale
  • Pinter People (1969, 16 mins): a series of four animated films written by Harold Pinter 
  • Face to Face: Harold Pinter (1997, 39 mins): Sir Jeremy Isaacs interviews Harold Pinter, who discusses the images and events which have inspired some of his most powerful dramas
  • Harold Pinter Guardian Interview (1996, 73 mins, audio only): an extensive interview recorded at the National Film Theatre
  • Illustrated booklet with new writing by Michael Billington, John Wyver, Billy Smart, Amanda Wrigley, David Rolinson and Lez Cooke, and full film credits

 

UK | 1965-1988 | black and white, and colour | 628 mins | English language with optional hard-of-hearing subtitles
original aspect ratio 1.33:1 | 5 x DVD9 | PAL | Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio (192kbps)
© BBC 1965-1988. Distributed under licence from the British Broadcasting Corporation.
 

Extras

  • Writers in Conversation: Harold Pinter (1984, 47 mins): an ICA interview with Harold Pinter by Benedict Nightingale
  • Pinter People (1969, 16 mins): a series of four animated films written by Harold Pinter
  • Face to Face: Harold Pinter (1997, 39 mins): Sir Jeremy Isaacs interviews Harold Pinter, who discusses the images and events which have inspired some of his most powerful dramas
  • Harold Pinter Guardian Interview (1996, 73 mins, audio only): an extensive interview with the legendary playwright by critic Michael Billington, recorded at the National Film Theatre
  • 44-page illustrated booklet with new writing by Michael Billington, John Wyver, Billy Smart, Amanda Wrigley, David Rolinson and Lez Cooke, and full film credits

Additional Info

Additional Info

SKU 5035673021187
Catalogue Number BFIV2118
Product contents 5 discs
Year 1965 - 1987
Director Christopher Morahan, Harold Pinter, Charles Jarrot, Kenneth Ives
Format DVD
Publisher(s) BFI
Countries United Kingdom
DVD region 2
Certificate 15

Customer Reviews

Fascinating, disturbing and a great find!Review by Delphine1962
Quality
Someone at the BBC and the BFI needs a medal for having put together this extremely valuable compilation of some of the best work of our greatest post-war playwright. Locating some of the material must have taken a great deal of careful sourcing and careful restoration, especially Tea Party, A Slight Ache and The Basement.

The jewel in the collection has to be Tea Party, the original broadcast from 1965. I had long thought that this had been wiped, as was unfortunately customary; indeed, the transfer from the original teleplay does have a slightly washed-out quality, with some minor splutters at the start, but this pales into insignificance when considering the magisterial quality of the acting and the extraordinarily inventive camerawork. Although the essential tone is comic (comedy of menace rarely gets blacker), this is very cleverly underpinned by a mounting sense of paranoia, aided in great part by Leo McKern in the central role of the successful business mogul seemingly about to be toppled from his (toilet) pedestal. He is matched line for line, and leg for leg, by the irreplaceable Vivien Merchant - perhaps PInter's most expert interpreter - and "much the most inflammatory secretary ever to bend over a filing cabinet" (as described in a contemporaneous review). The play is a fascinating window into the seismic change in social and sexual politics of the '60s; the fact that this production was seen by 18% of the British public at the time is extraordinary - it couldn't happen now.

The other wonderful presentation here is Landscape, with the two actors, Dorothy Tutin and Colin Blakely, (both premeried Old Times at the RSC with Merchant) in consummate form.

Other fine examples are the alternative versions of plays already avaialable - if rare. I felt the 1967 version of A Night Out in this collection to be very fine, and quite different from the original 1961 ITV/ABC production; the actors bring subtly nuanced characterisations rather than the more dramatically direct earlier version. In particular, Tony Selby, in the central role, brings pathos and desolation, evoking sympathy, in contrast to the earlier Tom Bell, playing the part very much as the Angry Young Man. Similarly, the version of The Birthday Party presented here demonstrates the latitude of approach possible in presenting Pinter - it is very different from the marvellous Friedkin 1968 film version; although equally brutal, this version is also funnier, with Joan Plowright and Julie Walters sweeping the board in this regard.

By contrast, I felt the version here of Old Times to be quite disappointing. I think the actors are great, if not of the exalted level of those in the original 1971 production ( what a tragedy that isn't preserved on film), but the production is, in my view, unimaginative, although I have never seen/heard a successful TV or radio version of this play - it HAS to be on stage.

Two wonderful examples: early Pinter, in The Hothouse, and late, in Mountain Language. Some generous and fasinating special features too. (Posted on 07/02/2019)

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