Movie Diary 6/12/2018

The Birthday Party (William Friedkin, 1968). I think Friedkin is miscast as director – he comes in hot and aggressive, but Harold Pinter’s vibe is best served by a dry approach. So it’s pretty overbearing. Standout performance by Sydney Tafler as the smooth, Jewish, older menacer (the other is Patrick Magee, being Patrick Magee); the central character is the beleaguered Robert Shaw, in a pair of character-defining too-small glasses. Friedkin remains the only filmmaker to make a Sonny & Cher film and a Harold Pinter movie within a year. As far as I know.

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