7.1/10
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Betrayal (1983)

Pinter's semi-autobiographical play examining the surprise attraction, shy first steps, gradual flowering, and treasonous deception of a woman's extramarital affair with her husband's best ... See full summary »

Director:

David Hugh Jones

Writers:

Harold Pinter (play), Harold Pinter (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jeremy Irons ... Jerry
Ben Kingsley ... Robert
Patricia Hodge ... Emma
Avril Elgar Avril Elgar ... Mrs. Banks
Ray Marioni Ray Marioni ... Waiter
Caspar Norman Caspar Norman ... Sam
Chloe Billington Chloe Billington ... Charlotte Age 5
Hannah Davies Hannah Davies ... Charlotte Age 9
Michael König Michael König ... Ned Age 2
Alexander McIntosh Alexander McIntosh ... Ned Age 5
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Storyline

Pinter's semi-autobiographical play examining the surprise attraction, shy first steps, gradual flowering, and treasonous deception of a woman's extramarital affair with her husband's best friend. The entire story is told from the husband's point of view, with the scenes in precise reverse chronological order. Written by Dan Hartung <dhartung@mcs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In every life...for every love...with every trust...there is a risk of Betrayal.

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 February 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Anatomia de uma Traição See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Horizon Pictures (II) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie was released five years after its source stage play of the same name by Harold Pinter had been first performed. See more »

Quotes

Emma: Aren't you enjoying the party?
Jerry: You're beautiful.
[He goes to her]
Jerry: Listen. I've been watching you all night. I must tell you, I want to tell you, I have to tell you...
Emma:
  • Please

Jerry: You're incredible.
Emma: You're drunk.
Jerry: Nevertheless.
[He holds her]
Jerry: I was best man at your wedding. I saw you in white. I watched you glide by in white.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Seinfeld: The Betrayal (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Toffs triangle
24 November 2012 | by LejinkSee all my reviews

An ingeniously constructed movie, adapted from his play, by celebrated writer Harold Pinter, directed by Sam Spiegel, "Betrayal" shows in reverse order, the end and beginning of an extra-marital affair between a gallery-owner and her publisher husband's best friend. In a reversal of convention, we see the ravelling as opposed to the unravelling of a relationship going wrong with the backtracking device keeping the viewer watching right to the last "genesis" moment.

The characterisation does betray a little chauvinism, you do lose a little sympathy for the cuckolded Ben Kingsley character after he admits to serial philandering of his own, but for me the film succeeds by not judging the characters at all, more they're put under the microscope like lab rats for the voyeuristic viewer to examine their behaviour and come to one's own moral judgement.

To stand up to this scrutiny without deadening proceedings requires good acting and that's unquestionably the case here with Jeremy Irons and Patricia Hodge as the stars-uncrossed lovers and Kingsley as the jilted husband. The acting is restrained and avoids for the most part ostentation although occasionally you can see the twitches and tics of Irons and Kingsley kick in a la the Dustin Hoffman method-acting manual. You get the impression sometimes of scenes requiring several takes as the actors strive for naturalism, at which points it's better to enjoy Pinter's way with rhythmic dialogue and dramatic pauses - as ever he's especially good at picking up on the mundaneness of everyday conversation, even if the world of galleries and authors is probably somewhat rarefied to the rest of us. The film seeks to avoid its theatrical beginning with occasional outdoor shots as well as often employing background noises as the world outside the three's own isolated but entwined worlds come apart. Otherwise the direction is smooth but never intrusive and avoids overtly sexual scenes which I might otherwise have anticipated from the plot.

Although not perfect, this was an engrossing and entertaining examination of human emotions when love goes wrong, right and finally wrong again.


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