Harold Pinter's Screenplays and the Artistic Process
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
While best known as one of the most important playwrights of the twentieth century, Harold Pinter (1930--2008) had an equally successful career writing screenplays. His collaborations with director Joseph Losey garnered great attention and esteem, and two of his screenplays earned Academy Award nominations: The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981) and Betrayal (1983) . He is also credited for writing an unproduced script to remake Stanley Kubrick's 1962 adaptation of Lolita. Much scholarship has been dedicated to the subject of Pinter as playwright, but the rich landscape of his work in film has been left largely undisturbed.
In Sharp Cut: Harold Pinter's Screenplays and the Artistic Process, Steven H. Gale, the world's foremost Pinter scholar, analyzes Pinter's creative process from initial conception to finished film. Gale makes careful, point-by-point comparisons of each stage in the screenplay's creation -- the source material, the adaptations themselves, and the films made from the scripts -- in order to reveal the meaning behind each film script and to explain the cinematic techniques used to express that meaning.
Unlike most Pinter scholars, who focus almost solely on the written word, Gale devotes discussion to the cinematic interpretation of the scripts through camera angles and movement, cutting, and other techniques. Pinter does not merely convert his stage scripts to screenplays; he adapts the works to succeed in the other medium, avoiding elements of the live play that do not work onscreen and using the camera's focusing operations in ways that are not possible on the stage.
As Pinter's career progressed and his writing evolved, screenplays became for him an increasingly vital means of creative expression. Sharp Cut is the first study to fully explore this important component of the Pinter canon.
The Caretaker (The Guest)
The Pumpkin Eater
The Quiller Memorandum
The Basement (The Compartment)
The Birthday Party
The Proust Screenplay (Remembrance of Things Past)
The Last Tycoon
The French Lieutenant's Woman
The Handmaid's Tale
The Comfort of Strangers
Bits and Pieces
The Creative/ Collaborative Process
Appendix A:: Quick Reference
Appendix B:: Honors and Awards for Screenwriting
Appendix C:: Film and Television Directing
Appendix D:: Movie and Television Roles Acted by Pinter
Bibliography:: Works Cited
"A highly significant book both for Pinter studies and for the neglected analysis of the genre of film scripts.... This pioneering work will be a model for subsequent studies of film scripts." -- Choice
"To say that [Steven Gale] is a master of the scholarship on Harold Pinter is an understatement .I have seldom agreed so much with an author's interpretations of a film artist as I do with [Gale's] .This is a landmark in scholarship about the adaptation of fiction and drama to film by an author who know his subject (in both senses of the word) inside out. In particular he documents the collaboration of Harold Printer with film director Joseph Losey, which is one of the most celebrated creative associations of a writer and director in cinema history." -- Gene D. Phillips
"Such a volume was refreshing to read and gave me faith in scholarship -- again." -- Peter C. Rollins