Pinter as performer

Hewett, RJ ORCID: 2020, 'Pinter as performer' , The Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 40 (3) , pp. 499-515.

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Access Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television on 13th June 2020, available online:


Harold Pinter worked successfully for many decades as an actor, making numerous, albeit intermittent, appearances on television, on stage and in film in addition to his distinguished writing career. Pinter’s acting spanned the television eras I have identified as studio realism and location realism (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017). However, unlike many of his contemporaries, his screen performances do not represent a straightforward linear development from the scaled down, stage-derived codes of multi-camera studio to the less projected style of single camera film. In contrast, Pinter drew upon a variety of styles at each stage of his acting career. This article utilises five case studies to examine the extent to which he did not conform to the model of a stage actor adapting to screen work. The opening four texts are divided into two pairs; the first examines his work for multi-camera studio television, and the second for single camera film. The multi-camera case studies include a supporting role as Seeley in his own Armchair Theatre entry, A Night Out, alongside the BBC’s 1987 adaptation of The Birthday Party, in which Pinter plays Nat Goldberg. The single camera pairing comprises Pinter’s cameo as lawyer Saul Abrahams in the 1976 television movie Rogue Male, and his memorable appearance as the Director in David Mamet’s 2000 short film Catastrophe. In addition to examining the range of techniques Pinter employed over his distinguished—yet comparatively little heralded—acting career, this article will also consider his ‘performance’ in his 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature lecture, ‘Art, Truth & Politics’.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: The Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0143-9685
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Dr Richard Hewett
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2020 13:00
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 16:16

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