(aka 'The Guest')

directed by Clive Donner
UK 1963


  Certainly not a film for fans of typical Hollywood CGI-induced rubbish. What we have is an incredibly tense and claustrophobic study of three characters sympathetically co-existing in the same environment. It contains some of the best acting I have seen in years. It is the story of two brothers - one mentally ill, confused and cognitively resting, called Aston (Robert Shaw). His sibling is off kilter as well in a different manner - he goes by Mick (Alan Bates). We are witness to how both brothers interact with Davies (Donald Pleasence), a similarly deluded but fearfully bigoted individual, unwilling to admit his hobo status, but lashes out to blame everyone and everything near him for his current plight. Plot development is nil - the entire film almost exclusively takes place in a small room besot with collected rubbish. You initially become intrigued by what may transpire, and then feel grades of compassion, and finally acceptance of the three men's ills and their lot in life. It is as if writer Harold Pinter were casting you adrift from an unknown fate. The whole experience is fascinating as drama is portrayed at its zenith  out of      

Gary W. Tooze

Theatrical Release: June 1963 (Berlin International Film Festival)

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DVD Review: BFI Video - Region 2 - PAL

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Distribution BFI Video - Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 1:40:51
Video 1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.21 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby) 
Subtitles English, None

Release Information:
Studio: BFI Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Clive Donner, Michael Birkett and Alan Bates
• On Location with The Caretaker (from This Week in Britain, 1962)
• The Caretaker - An Introduction by Michael Billington (approx. 6 minutes)
• The Caretaker: From Play Into Film
• Biographies of Harold Pinter and Clive Donner

DVD Release Date: October 21st, 2002

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 18


The image is a little softer than you might have hoped, but once you recall the pragmatic production values, it can be more accepting. The extras are worth the price of this DVD alone - even if they excluded the main feature! The commentary is witty and the three involved share a real camaraderie that shines through. If the image were only better I would easily put this in my Top 100 DVDs. As it stands, a DVD that I heartily endorse. Thanks BFI ! out of    

Gary W. Tooze

DVD Menus

There are great menus on this DVD , but my software just refused to capture images of them.


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Gary Tooze