Harold Pinter

Active - 1963 - 2007  |   Born - Oct 10, 1930   |   Died - Dec 24, 2008   |   Genres - Drama, Romance, Thriller

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Biography by AllMovie

It is difficult to determine what was in the psychological makeup of Briton Harold Pinter that resulted in a playwriting style distinguished by tension-filled pregnant pauses. Possibly this minimal use of wordage stemmed from Pinter's own communication problems with his Portuguese-born Jewish father. In the 1950s, Pinter attended RADA and hoped to be an actor under the Anglo-Saxon professional name David Baron. Instead he turned to writing, penning his first play, The Room, for the Bristol University drama department. After a lukewarm response to his first professionally produced play, The Birthday Party (1958), Pinter rose to fame with the 1960 stage production The Caretaker. With 1963's The Servant, Pinter made his bow as a screenwriter, and also essayed his first film role (he has since acted in other films, such as 1985's Turtle Diary, but hasn't declared any intention of making this his life's work). While many of his films (The Caretaker, The Birthday Party, the Oscar-nominated Betrayal) are adapted from his own plays, just as many have been screen originals. Pinter's film scripts aren't quite as enigmatic or confusing as his plays, in fact many have been models of clarity and succinctness, notably his Oscar-nominated adaptation of John Fowles' complex The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981). For a man who wasn't overly fond of excess verbiage, Pinter had considerable success on BBC radio, but here again it's what is not said in Pinter's plays that's most important. In 1974, Harold Pinter ventured into film directing with Butley, an over-the-top comedy by Peter Gray that's as far removed from the usual Pinter style as a Marx Brothers film.

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