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The Caretaker [1963] [DVD]


Price: £7.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

The Caretaker [1963] [DVD] + Pinter's Progress & The Homecoming [DVD] + Laurence Olivier Presents Harold Pinter's The Collection [DVD] [1976]
Price For All Three: £21.25

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Product details

  • Actors: Alan Bates, Donald Pleasence, Robert Shaw
  • Directors: Clive Donner
  • Writers: Harold Pinter
  • Producers: Michael Birkett
  • Format: Closed-captioned, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Bfi
  • DVD Release Date: 21 Oct. 2002
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006JY3H
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 41,286 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

THE CARETAKER
A film by Clive Donner

The Caretaker was the play that made Harold Pinter's name when it was first performed at the Arts Theatre, London in 1960, and it remains probably his most famous. Two years later, Clive Donner's film version began shooting, after producer Michael Birkett had raised the finance from figures such as Noël Coward, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Peter Sellers, Peter Hall and Leslie Caron all passionate admirers of the play.

For the film, two of the cast of that original production Donald Pleasence as Davies and Alan Bates as Mick are joined by Robert Shaw as Aston, allowing us to see on film three of the greatest stage interpretations of Pinter's characters.

Donner's sensitive film becomes a study of shared illusion, tragic dispossession and a fraternal bond of unspoken love, combining mesmerising performances and the magic of Pinter's dialogue into a spellbinding film.

Extra features

  • Commentary by Alan Bates, Clive Donner and Michael Birkett
  • Introduction by Michael Billington
  • On Location with The Caretaker (1962)
  • From Play Into Film Michael Billington on the making of The Caretaker, using materials donated by Clive Donner to the Special Collections archive of the British Film Institute
  • UK | 1963 | black & white | English language with optional hard-of-hearing subtitles | 100 minutes | Ratio 1.33:1 | Region 2 DVD

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. Peake on 7 Jun. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There have been many stage versions of this best-known classic drama from Harold Pinter. The story is a simple one of a tramp given lodgings ( supposedly in exchange for acting as caretaker for the house ) in a storage room where a camp bed serves as the only comfort. The whole play/film revolves around his interaction with the two brothers who own the house, both of whom have their own quite different disfunctional personalities. Filmed totally within this small room, the dialogue is realistically gripping. As may be expected, the acting is superb from the three characters, with a particularly outstanding performance by Donald Pleasance as the "Caretaker", Mac Davies.
A great DVD for anyone, whether or not you've seen the play ! One to keep for posterity !!
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Format: DVD
A dream cast - from the point of a filmed version of the play.
Pleasance acts 360 degrees - the eyes, the body language the voice - it's all there.
Bates is the slightly crazy random, impulsive but deeply troubled brother in the wings.
And Shaw - magnificent Shaw - in a tremendously powerful portrayal - of course he's slow, what else - and a central monologue about ECT that is absolutely stunning. (It makes you look at the 1950s and early 1960s again in a different light) Everything else is a bonus after that.

The most significant point is reached where Shaw says his mother signed the paper. When you are surrendered to the state, or a state run institution, that is the end. Anything can happen. See our treatment of the elderly in care homes in the UK. Everything in the play seems to proceed from this act of abandonment. Of course, ECT is now out of favour, but there is the chemical cosh...

The extras on the DVD are good too. The scene with the two brothers sharing a silent time in the garden, around the pond, observed by Pleasance from an upstairs window being apparently a favourite.

Of course, it has comical elements, but it is deadly serious power play between three individuals with one loser who you knew from the start. You haven't got everything here. But where is there enough with theatrical gems like this? But who cares?

It is enough to get 5 stars, repeated viewings and enough to find a rightful place in any record of Pinter's works.

This filmed version of the play will be watched anew by countless generations into the future making their own assessment of Pinter as a British post-war playwright. They will find much truth in it.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Lou Knee on 25 Aug. 2007
Format: DVD
A good version of the Pinter thought piece. Directing this piece either for stage or film requires a touch that enables the viewer to catch up with its possible under themes, and to reflect on the carefully written dialogue. This is done well here, the camera lingering on certain scenes when all the 'action' (mainly talk) has finished. Nicely cast using men who know what Pinter's all about: this is different to playing Becket, it is one step closer to real life while still not quite in the same room.

Rooms are central to Pinter productions, and this one didn't really have to be more adorned than it was, even if you sometimes catch yourself thinking, 'God why don't they spruce it up a bit?-No wonder they're miserable!' The production didn't necessarily have to be as bare it was, but it works well with Pinter on stage, so why shouldn't it on screen. This play also suits the shadowy two tone black and white photography. The film won't suit everyone new to Pinter, but it serves as a solid record of what he was about.
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By T.A. Casey on 26 Feb. 2015
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
fast deliv. ...thanks.
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