The Birthday Party (film) - Plot

Plot

The protagonist is a lodger in his late 30s named Stanley (Webber), played by Robert Shaw, who is staying at a seaside boarding house; he is visited by two unexpected additional guests, menacing and mysterious strangers, Goldberg (Sydney Tafler) and McCann (Patrick Magee). Their neighbour, Lulu (Helen Fraser) brings her a parcel, a boy's toy drum presented to Stanley as his "birthday present." Goldberg and McCann offer to host Stanley's birthday party after Stanley's landlady, Meg (Boles), played by Dandy Nichols, tells them that it is Stanley's birthday, although Stanley protests that it is really not his birthday. In the course of the party, Goldberg and McCann break Stanley down and ultimately take him away from the house purportedly to get medical attention (from "Monty") in their car. The film ends (as the play ends) after Meg's husband Petey (Moultrie Kelsall), a deckchair attendant, who did not attend the party because he was out playing chess, calls after Stanley, "Stan, don't let them tell you what to do"; at the end, Meg, still somewhat hung over, is unaware that Stanley has been taken away, since Petey has not told her that, and tells him that she was "the belle of the ball."

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Famous quotes containing the word plot:

    The plot was most interesting. It belonged to no particular age, people, or country, and was perhaps the more delightful on that account, as nobody’s previous information could afford the remotest glimmering of what would ever come of it.
    Charles Dickens (1812–1870)

    But, when to Sin our byast Nature leans,
    The careful Devil is still at hand with means;
    And providently Pimps for ill desires:
    The Good Old Cause, reviv’d, a Plot requires,
    Plots, true or false, are necessary things,
    To raise up Common-wealths and ruine Kings.
    John Dryden (1631–1700)

    James’s great gift, of course, was his ability to tell a plot in shimmering detail with such delicacy of treatment and such fine aloofness—that is, reluctance to engage in any direct grappling with what, in the play or story, had actually “taken place”Mthat his listeners often did not, in the end, know what had, to put it in another way, “gone on.”
    James Thurber (1894–1961)