Harold Pinter

My favorite playwright who wrote The Birthday Party, The Caretaker, The Homecoming, Betrayal, and many others (those four have been made into movies), he's also adapted a number of screenplays from novels (including The French Lieutenant's Woman and The Remains of the Day). He appears as an actor in a few movies, and has directed one.

Butley (1974) -- An American Film Theater production, all of which pretty much record a semi-filmic version of a play (usually by the original stage performers) in order to have a nice document. Harold Pinter took over the camera of this Simon Gray play, and he doesn't show off at all, just points and shoots, which is all that's necessary for these AFT films. Alan Bates had performed the role of Butley on stage who knows how many times, and you can tell that he's perfected the character for the movie version. An interesting play about an English professor who's basically quit teaching, weasling out of his responsibilities, while on the looking out for "interesting" students he can take under his wing / be homosexual lovers with--the previous person he's done that to now sharing an office with him at the college, their relationship all but over. His wife is also divorcing him, and he is left by both individuals on the same day. Butley's speeches are both obnoxious and hilarious, making us both love him and maintain that he's a creep who deserves all the misery he gets. The cut-downs in the dialogue are particularly good. The presentation of an English professor in this position is the most honest one I've ever seen in movies. A movie for play lovers (others may or may not like it). A

Copyright (c) May 2005 by Rusty Likes Movies