Archive for Pinter

accidental connections

Posted in FILM, literature, Politics with tags , , , , , , on May 19, 2008 by dcairns

So, the little girl in Losey and Pinter’s ACCIDENT appears to be this person, Carole Caplin, daffy new ager and style adviser to Cherie Blair, wife of our former prime minister. Their friendship came under fire after it emerged that Caplin’s partner was a convicted conman and had had financial dealings with Mrs Prime Minister.

And Nicholas Mosley, who wrote the novel Pinter adapted, and later screenwriter of THE ASSASSINATION OF TROTSKY, is notable for being the son of British fascist leader Oswald Mosley. His younger brother Max, president of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, having successfully lived down the fascist family connection for decades, was recently involved in a nazi sex-tape scandal. Oops.

Joseph Losey week: END.

Accidents Will Happen

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on May 18, 2008 by dcairns


Anecdote from the documentary series Hollywood UK ~

At the end of the Losey-Pinter collaboration ACCIDENT, there’s a shot duplicating the opening: a wide view of the Bogarde residence. Only this time it’s day and not night. The Bogarde children (girl, 3, and boy, 7) and dog play on the lawn.

In the script, Pinter had written that the little girl trips and falls. Losey then planned to pull out slightly, mirroring the push-in at the start of the film, while the sound of the original car crash is heard, part of the film’s strategy of dislocating sound and image and fragmenting time.

There was no way to get a three-year-old to convincingly trip on purpose on a gravel driveway. They don’t have the Robert Mitchum spirit, those three-year-olds. So a trip-wire was hidden.

Some of the crew were rather unhappy about this. Losey didn’t like it either, but saw no other way to get the shot. Like the firing squad in KING AND COUNTRY, they all prepared to do this horrible thing they knew was wrong. It’s a one-take deal, obviously (unless there are a dozen identical weans squirrelled away somewhere, just for the stuntwork.

Action! The unsuspecting kids and dog take off. The wirework works — almost too well. Down goes the hapless tot, down goes the boy, down goes the dog, almost. But the girl is first, so she registers on camera as the important one. The parents emerge and shepherd the kids indoors. The camera starts to pull out.

Then the dog, for reasons known only to himself, bananas off around the garden and charges straight at the camera. Fortunately he decides to run past it, perhaps to be reunited with a favourite crewmember, rather than, say, leaping up and licking the lens. Then Losey lays in the sound effect of screeching brakes and smashing metal and glass, causing many audience members to imagine that the dog has caused yet another car crash.

It’s a good shot though.

An excellent, slightly different account of the same shot can be found at Jim Emerson’s excellent Scanners blog.

Pinter Kills

Posted in FILM, literature, Theatre with tags , , , on January 21, 2008 by dcairns

If you ever wondered what a HAROLD PINTER ACTION MOVIE would be like (and which of us has not?) this short extract from his screenplay VICTORY (adapted from Joseph Conrad for director Richard Lester) may provide the answer.

EXT. THE CLEARING Ricardo, standing, holding his head. Jones comes out of the shadows. 


Guv’nor! I thought he’d done for you. He nearly had me just now. 


No, it wasn’t him. It was me. 




It’s me now, too. 

He shoots him. Ricardo falls.

This project was set to go in the early ’80s, at a modest budget, when another production company announced a version of the same (out-of-copyright) book. Lester’s funding collapsed.

Mark Peploe made a version of the Conrad classic in 1995, but apparently thought he could do better than Pinter and wrote his own script. The film was barely released.


Well, now I know — pasting from Word into this blog really messes up the formatting!