Pinter at the BBC

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MichaelB
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Pinter at the BBC

#1 Post by MichaelB » Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:41 pm

PINTER AT THE BBC is a new 4-DVD set featuring 10 BBC adaptations of the great British playwright’s work, spanning the period 1965-1988. Many of these have not previously been available in any home entertainment format. Highlights include 1987’s The Birthday Party starring Julie Walters and Joan Plowright.
Currently slated for 21 January 2019

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NABOB OF NOWHERE
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Re: Pinter at the BBC

#2 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:43 pm

Well that, fittingly, is my Birthday present to myself sorted.

dda1996a
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Re: Pinter at the BBC

#3 Post by dda1996a » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:07 pm

Is this being DVD only similar to why Clarke's early tv programs were on a DVD disc?

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MichaelB
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Re: Pinter at the BBC

#4 Post by MichaelB » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:09 pm

I strongly suspect that most if not all of these were studio productions shot and edited on standard def PAL video.

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antnield
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Re: Pinter at the BBC

#5 Post by antnield » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:47 am

Contents:

• Old Times (Christopher Morahan, 1975)
• The Hothouse (Harold Pinter, 1982)
• Mountain Language (Harold Pinter, 1988)
• The Basement (Charles Jarrott, 1967)
• A Slight Ache (Christopher Morahan, 1967)
• A Night Out (Christopher Morahan, 1967)
• Monologue (Christopher Morahan, 1973)
• The Tea Party (Charles Jarrott, 1965)
• The Birthday Party (Kenneth Ives, 1987)

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bottled spider
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Re: Pinter at the BBC

#6 Post by bottled spider » Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:08 am

Discreetly salivating.

Morahan's done good things of course -- Clockwise, The Jewel in the Crown, and The Heat of the Day (co-scripted incidentally by Pinter).

Look at the cast of The Birthday Party! It'll be interesting to compare it to Friedkin's version. Ives directed a good A Kind of Alaska, with Paul Scofield and Dorothy Tutin, but not for the BBC.

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NABOB OF NOWHERE
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Re: Pinter at the BBC

#7 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:20 am

Would love to have a copy of No Man's Land with Gielgud and Richardson but unfortunately it's Granada. Maybe someone like Network?

charal
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Re: Pinter at the BBC

#8 Post by charal » Sat Nov 03, 2018 2:41 pm

More to come might include radio plays some of which were debut performances.

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GaryC
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Re: Pinter at the BBC

#9 Post by GaryC » Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:54 pm

charal wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 2:41 pm
More to come might include radio plays some of which were debut performances.
Possibly including Landscape, which premiered on Radio 3 because the Lord Chamberlain wouldn't pass it for stage production due to the line "Fuck all", which Pinter refused to cut. So that appears to have been the first scripted F-word broadcast by the BBC.

BBC2 broadcast a television version of this play in 1983, which I saw, but that doesn't appear to be included here.

I'm definitely in for this set.

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MichaelB
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Re: Pinter at the BBC

#10 Post by MichaelB » Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:13 am

Full specs confirmed:
"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 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.

beamish14
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Re: Pinter at the BBC

#11 Post by beamish14 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:43 pm

I can’t imagine this release not being in my top 5 for the year. I’m thrilled to see Pinter People, which was directed by the great Canadian animator Gerald Potterton. These were part of an episode from the incredible anthology series NBC Experiment in Television, which is crying out for a complete release. The only commercially available episode is Fellini: A Director’s Notebook on the Criterion of 8 1/2

j99
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Re: Pinter at the BBC

#12 Post by j99 » Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:17 pm

A great set at a bargain price. One omission though, unless I missed a release previously, One For The Road, which is one of my favourite Pinter plays, featuring a stellar performance from Alan Bates.

charal
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Re: Pinter at the BBC

#13 Post by charal » Tue Apr 09, 2019 5:11 am

Anyone know why the BBC version of THE DUMB WAITER was left off the set? Strange omission especially since it has performances by two actors used in the contemporaneous versions of LANDSCAPE & THE BIRTHDAY PARTY.

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MichaelB
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Re: Pinter at the BBC

#14 Post by MichaelB » Tue Apr 09, 2019 6:22 am

I imagine it was something infuriating like a single rights complication that couldn't be resolved in time.

For a good insight into what a contractual nightmare repackaging BBC productions for commercial release can be, see here.

(Short version: these productions were never intended for commercial release, and so all of the relevant contracts need to be renegotiated. If just one person - or their estates, if deceased - can't be contacted, or says no for whatever reason, that's that.)

charal
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Re: Pinter at the BBC

#15 Post by charal » Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:35 am

Thanks for the link Michael. After reading that I think we should be grateful for what we got.

M Sanderson
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Re: Pinter at the BBC

#16 Post by M Sanderson » Sun May 19, 2019 6:12 am

Got mine. Enjoyed Birthday Party a great deal. I had already loved Friedkin’s version with Robert Shaw. That was more explosive and kinetic, and edged closer - I felt - almost in to horror territory.

In this version I enjoyed Kenneth Cranham’s different depiction of Stanley’s breakdown. He seems to implode or deflate. I liked the Munchian silent scream that he did. Great to see Pinter himself as Goldberg. By contrast in the 1968 version Shaw kind of exploded and burned out. Both great interpretations.

I actually didn’t recognise Colin Blakey at first as McGann. Then I started thinking about Lumet’s Equus in which he played the dad, and realised...

It really is one of my favourite ever plays, funny and unnerving. And open to different interpretations. Are we seeing the fallout of a spy (look at Goldberg and McGann’s interrogation techniques) or gangster story? Etc

Can’t wait to get around to the others in the set. Also great companion piece to BFI’s recent superb Blu ray of The Caretaker.

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bottled spider
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Re: Pinter at the BBC

#17 Post by bottled spider » Sun May 19, 2019 12:34 pm

I saw the Birthday Party on stage when I was about ten or eleven, the only time I've seen Pinter in the theatre. The memory of that chilling last line has kept me interested in Pinter despite mixed reactions to every thing I've seen on DVD since.
It really is one of my favourite ever plays, funny and unnerving. And open to different interpretations. Are we seeing the fallout of a spy (look at Goldberg and McGann’s interrogation techniques) or gangster story? Etc
Or the breaking down of a political dissident, or the recapture of an escapee from a religious cult...? Not interpretations, of course, that quite make literal sense.

I've been going through my set in order, saving what I assume is the best for last. Three discs in, and the best of it so far is the excellent Pinter People cartoons. And the booklet that so scrupulously documents for each play the dispraise of the critics and test audiences, e.g.:
A retired Audit Clerk pronounced it "very dull", and added "I think the constant repetition back and forth of trifling and ungrammatical sentences was wearying to the ear and an irritant to normal intelligence".

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