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      Butley

      R 1974 2h 7m Comedy List
      Reviews 64% Audience Score 500+ Ratings Directed by influential British playwright, Harold Pinter, Ben Butley (Alan Bates) is an embittered English professor whose male lover leaves him on the same day his estranged wife (Susan Engel) asks him for a divorce. To make matters worse, Butley must also haggle with his spinsterish colleague (Jessica Tandy) and face the downward spiral of a once promising career. As his life crumbles around him, Butley fights back with the only weapon at his disposal: his razor-sharp wit. Read More Read Less

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      Butley

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      Critics Reviews

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      Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times We don't pity [Butley], even though we should. He somehow doggedly weathers each crisis, and we even feel a sneaky affection for him. Maybe that's the way the role is written, or maybe it's because of the double-reverse charm Bates brings to it. Rated: 4/4 Jun 18, 2005 Full Review Cole Smithey ColeSmithey.com Rated: 3/5 Nov 7, 2005 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      Alec B Simon Gray's writing is deliciously cruel and witty but without Bates' performance this could have easily fallen apart. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/10/24 Full Review Richard W Directed by Harold Pinter, you would expect this to have much worth. And it does. The whole play takes place in a room, except for scenes in the London Underground when we see Butley commuting to his office. Its like a short story fleshed out, but with the added pleasure of seeing Alan Bates at his best. I can see why some people dislike it, but the script and content is top class. Abandoning Eliot, Butley takes up Beatrix Potter - and his life descends. Hilarious! Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/28/23 Full Review Audience Member Simon Gray's writing is deliciously cruel and witty but without Bates' performance this could have easily fallen apart. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/13/23 Full Review Audience Member Stagy production would be nothing without the great performance given by Alan Bates. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 02/27/23 Full Review Audience Member Alan Bates repeats his West End and Broadway triumph in this film directed by Harold Pinter by the playwright Simon Gray. Sadly, Bates must have been more dynamic onstage than here. The small screen and time diminishes the impact of his turn. Talky is okay on the boards but here the incessant academic chatter (a specialty of Gray) gets tiresome. Jessica Tandy puts in a nice appearance as an older educator that Butley disdains. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/06/23 Full Review walter m In the beginning, there is the cough, as English professor Ben Butley(Alan Bates) has trouble waking up in the morning and cuts himself shaving. He barely makes the tube train, somehow finding a seat where he can smoke and read, which takes him to his university office which he shares with Joey Keyston(Richard O'Callaghan) along with a bed. I should have known there was something amiss with "Butley" from the opening scene that goes on too long. And if you think that is bad, then the rest of this intermittently witty movie which is set almost exclusively on one set in one running scene is even worse, and somewhat haphazardly directed to boot.(This is one of the American Film Theatre series from the 1970's when the default setting for depicting gay men was bitchy.) As a heavy drinker(it's not the kidneys he should be concerned with...), Butley does slip out down to the pub at one point which is a perfect opportunity for the audience to slip out for a pint or an ice cream sandwich. And as good a performance as Alan Bates gives, it still feels like being trapped in a confined space with a very unpleasant man, giving us a perfect feel for what Joey's life is like on a daily basis. In fact, Butley tries to avoid responsibility whenever possible, playing hide and seek with Carol Heasman(Georgina Hale), a prospective tutorial student, which interrupts him taking stock of the glorious mess of his life in this glorious mess of a movie. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Read all reviews
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      Synopsis Directed by influential British playwright, Harold Pinter, Ben Butley (Alan Bates) is an embittered English professor whose male lover leaves him on the same day his estranged wife (Susan Engel) asks him for a divorce. To make matters worse, Butley must also haggle with his spinsterish colleague (Jessica Tandy) and face the downward spiral of a once promising career. As his life crumbles around him, Butley fights back with the only weapon at his disposal: his razor-sharp wit.
      Director
      Harold Pinter
      Producer
      Ely Landau
      Screenwriter
      Simon Gray
      Production Co
      Cinévision Ltée, The American Film Theatre
      Rating
      R
      Genre
      Comedy
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (DVD)
      Jun 11, 2007
      Runtime
      2h 7m
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