A Nobel laureate and the backbone of post-war British theater, Harold Pinter was responsible for some of the most important shifts in drama of the last century. Yet, if his plays disappeared tomorrow, his name would still be dramatically important because his work was never solely confined to the stage. As his catalogue of work makes plain, Pinter loved cinema.
If you’ve ever attended a bad performance of a Harold Pinter play, one in which the actors on stage pound their lines out with contrived pauses between words, you are probably aware that the oft-repeated maxim that “Pinter is all about the pauses” is incorrect. The reason why so many of his characters begin thoughts that trail off into nothingness before completion, or make interjections that they cannot support with a follow-through, is that Pinter doesn’t have much faith in humanity’s ability to communicate. This thing we call civilization is a sham. Genteel conversation is a thin covering for our natural, unchecked aggression. When done well, the pauses occur because the actor simply can’t speak, not because he or she is taking a break. Pinter’s “comedies of menace,” as they have been properly described, treat the audience to characters constantly failing to hide their base and banal nature behind language that they haven’t successfully mastered.
Harold Pinter’s first of three (official) collaborations with director Joseph Losey is still the best. The Servant is a searing portrait of class conflict in which deferential, mild-mannered Dirk Bogarde comes to work in the home of solitary gentleman James Fox. He then brings in his little sister (Sarah Miles) to work as Fox’s maid. The man of the house barely has to issue a command before his perfect servant anticipates his needs. He thinks nothing of enjoying some canoodling with the charwoman, while his snobby girlfriend deals with her natural dislike of Bogarde by treating him like dirt. Superiority in the British class system is an illusion, however, as you cannot be above unless someone is supplying the below. Things twist towards a disturbing and perverted conclusion as the tables turn and the servant lets his master know just how much he needs him. The ending lays it on a bit thick, but the performances are superb and the crisp monochrome cinematography has never looked better.
The Comfort of Strangers (Paul Schrader, 1990)
2. The steeples of Martinville, seen from Dr. Percepied’s trap.
3. A musty smell in a public lavatory in the Champs-Elysees.
4. The three trees, seen near Balbec from the carriage of Mme. de Villeparisis.
5. The hedge of hawthorn near Balbec.
6. He stoops to unbutton his boots on the occasion of his second visit to the Grand Hotel at Balbec.
7. Uneven cobbles in the courtyard of the Guermantes Hotel.
8. The noise of a spoon against a plate.
9. He wipes his mouth with a napkin.
10. The noise of water in the pipes.
11. George Sand’s François le Champi.
The first Losey-Pinter collaboration was The Servant (1963), which Pinter adapted for the screen from a 1948 novella of the same name by Robin Maugham (a nephew of the world-famous Somerset Maugham). By this stage of his career, with several successful plays to his name, Pinter could make even works by other writers appear “Pinter-esque”, and so it was with The Servant, in which Dirk Bogarde’s manservant eventually replaces his supposed master, played by James Fox, just as so many of Pinter’s stage creations ended up usurping their supposed betters. It was a theme that could not have been more timely or topical in 1960s Britain, when, for the first (and, tragically, so far only) time in English history, numerous members of the working classes – from The Beatles to Michael Caine to Pinter himself – were proving themselves to be effortlessly superior to their supposed betters.
The Servant was a success, both critically and commercially, and it enabled Losey and Pinter not only to continue their own work individually (Pinter wrote both his own plays and screenplays for other directors, notably The Quiller Memorandum (1966), a spy thriller investigating the rise of neo-Nazis) but to continue their loose trilogy of films that forensically examined England and in particular its notorious class system. The second of the trilogy was Accident (1967), which again showed the brutality that often lay behind the supposed gentility of the English gentleman (a theme that is becoming ever-more-topical as 21st century Britain topples acrimoniously towards Brexit).
Accident was another adaptation of a novel by a minor English aristocrat, Nicholas Mosley. More importantly, it again starred Dirk Bogarde, who by now had fully cast off his youthful image as a matinee idol to become a genuinely serious actor (a process that would culminate in his remarkable, ruined performance in Luschino Visconti’s Death In Venice (1971)). Bogarde played Stephen, a married Oxford don who secretly desires Anna, a young Austrian woman who is his student. Unfortunately, he is not alone in his admiration of Anna, as she is also desired by another of Stephen’s students, William, and one of Stephen’s colleagues, Charley. In what is almost a cinematic cousin of Pinter’s play The Homecoming, in which a young man brings his wife home to meet his family, only to find that his father and brothers also desire her, Accident shows how all three men compete for Anna’s affections. Finally, Stephen takes advantage of the accident that gives the film its title (Anna crashes William’s car, killing him, outside Stephen’s home) by hiding Anna in an upstairs room, explaining the accident away to the police and then effectively raping her. Like The Servant and so many of Pinter’s plays, Accident was dark, nasty and absolutely unforgettable.
The third film that Pinter wrote and Losey directed was yet another adaptation of a novel, but this was not an obscure or relatively unknown work but an acknowledged masterpiece, The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley, which had been published in 1953. Nearly 20 years after its publication, Pinter adapted it for the screen and it was truly the crowning achievement of his near decade-long collaboration with Losey. It is also the most formally inventive of his three screenplays for Losey, flashing back and forwards in keeping with the novel’s most celebrated line (which has now become a famous saying in its own right): “The past is a different country: they do things differently there”. They certainly did, as Pinter used Hartley’s novel as the basis and inspiration for his own marvelous screenplay, which told the story of a young boy who is unwittingly recruited by a couple engaged in an illicit affair – the beautiful daughter of a landowner (played by Julie Christie) and a tenant farmer (played by Alan Bates) – to carry messages between them. Finally, their affair is discovered, with genuinely tragic consequences that haunt the young “go-between” for the rest of his life.
The Go-Between (1971) was a towering achievement and fittingly, given that it was undoubtedly his finest screenplay to that point, Pinter won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Given that Pinter would go on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, unlike most screenwriters the Oscar was not his crowning glory. Nevertheless, it did mark the end of his working relationship with Losey, which had been the most successful screen partnership between a great writer and a great director since that enjoyed by Graham Greene and Carol Reed in the aftermath of World War II (https://thescriptlab.com/features/main/3501-the-great-screenwriters-part-6-graham-greene/).
As with Greene and Reed, it was as if Pinter and Losey had done all they could together, and as with Greene and Reed it was the younger writer who fared much better than the older director after their extraordinarily creative relationship came to an end. Certainly, Losey never made another film as good as the three that Pinter had written for him, and even if it can be argued that Pinter never quite matched the screenwriting heights he had reached with Losey, he still wrote a succession of superb plays, including Betrayal (1978), an anatomy of a relationship breakdown that was allegedly inspired by Pinter’s own extramarital affair with a TV presenter, Joan Bakewell, during the 1960s, and a number of fascinating screenplays.
A Great Man Of Letters
Probably the best of Pinter’s post-Losey screenplays was that for The Last Tycoon (1976), his adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s final (indeed unfinished) novel about his own creative dissipation and eventual death in Hollywood. The Last Tycoon was also the last film made by its illustrious director, Elia Kazan, the legendary director of A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and On The Waterfront (1954), but who was arguably even more famous for having given testimony in the 1950s against supposed Communist sympathizers like Joseph Losey. Indeed, Losey must have been appalled when he learned that Pinter was now working with his former enemy and although Pinter himself never wrote directly about his experience of working with Kazan it would surely have made a fascinating play or screenplay.
Pinter continued to write for the stage and screen virtually right up until his death in 2008. Although he wrote scripts for such memorable films as The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981), an adaptation of the John Fowles novel in which he intercut between past and present as he had done in The Go-Between 10 years earlier, probably his finest screenplays were ultimately unproduced and never filmed, which must have been almost as chastening for a great writer like Pinter as it is for any unknown or aspiring screenwriter. Nevertheless, such was Pinter’s status as a truly great man of letters (he also wrote poetry as well as scripts for stage, screen, TV and radio) that, unlike the works of unknown or aspiring screenwriters, his unproduced screenplays were often published and adapted for other media.
Foremost among them is The Proust Screenplay (1972), which Pinter wrote just after completing the final script for The Go-Between. It was meant to be the basis for a screen adaptation of Marcel Proust’s great novel (in the opinion of many the greatest novel ever written), À La Recherche Du Temps Perdu, which was traditionally translated (or rather mistranslated) into English as “In Remembrance Of Things Past”, after the Shakespeare sonnet (No.30) featuring that line, but which is now more usually (and accurately) translated as, “In Search Of Lost Time”. Pinter had written the script for Losey and given their earlier triumphs it is both perplexing and genuinely tragic (at least in artistic terms) that Losey was never able to raise the financing to make it. Nevertheless, in condensing a truly epic seven-volume novel into a film script of about 200 pages, Pinter produced probably his greatest screenplay. And even if it has never actually been filmed in full (parts of it were the basis of Swann In Love (1984), a film by Volker Schlöndorff, and it was later adapted for both stage and radio) it remains an absolute masterclass in editing and excision.
Harold Pinter was a great playwright but he was also a great screenwriter. His work with Joseph Losey alone would have elevated him to that status, but other, later scripts, especially The Last Tycoon and even The Proust Screenplay, also showed that he was a master of cinematic adaptation. The only shame is that he never wrote an original screenplay to go alongside his ultra-original, indeed inimitable (though many have tried) stage plays. If such a thing exists and is eventually discovered, then there is absolutely no doubt that it will be filmed, perhaps by a 21st century equivalent of a Losey or Kazan, the two very different directors for whom Pinter wrote his greatest works for the screen.
The Great Screenwriters: Part 24 – Harold Pinter. By Martin Keady. The Script Lab, March 31, 2020
“For god’s sake!”, exclaims Susan when Barrett (Dirk Bogarde) the servant intrudes on an intimate moment. “Restrict him to his quarters”, she adds after the servant leaves. “Can’t he live outside?” -“No he can’t”, replies Tony (James Fox) brusquely.
Something begins to crack – sexual tension has already altered the so much established order of things. Things don’t get any better when Barrett’s alleged sister, Vera (Sarah Miles) moves in and seduces Tony, who will then find her in bed with Barrett. Disconcerted, Tony fires him on the spot only to accept him back a while later – not as his servant any longer. After having first upset and then demolished the social and sexual divisions Tony and Susan hid behind, Barrett now seems to be the master of the house.
“I have usually begun a play in quite a simple manner; found a couple of characters in a particular context, thrown them together and listened to what they said, keeping my nose to the ground. The context has always been, for me, concrete and particular, and the characters concrete also. I’ve never started a play with any kind of abstract idea or theory. Apart from any other consideration, we are faced with the immense difficulty, if not the impossibility of verifying the past. I don’t mean merely years ago, but yesterday, this morning. What took place, what was the nature of what took place, what happened?” -Harold Pinter
So we have with The Servant (1963) a consequent imitative realism: the use of distancing devices or defamiliarization effects of the Brechtian Epic Theater, as well as the use of a similar comedy of distance on the part of Harold Pinter. We’re talking about the subject of realism and non-realism from the point of view of the theater’s ability to create not only the illusion of reality, but also the reality of illusion onstage (the reality, that is, of the unreal, or of the illusion-making capacity, illusion-projecting essence, or illusion-embracing tendency of the human mind) —as well as something in between the two. Brecht was primarily a social realist whose real objection to the theater of realism and naturalism was the psychologization of the human character, not its rendering of the surface of reality. Brecht created a drama that evolved into a mock-epic theater and faux-historical chronicle with his direct presentation of characters and episodic plotting, something we also find also in the forms of narrative cinema. It also involved a certain theatrical sensibility and vocabulary, grounded on the used language, its rhythm and pauses.
“Language, under these conditions, is a highly ambiguous business. So often, below the word spoken, is the thing known and unspoken. My characters tell me so much and no more, with reference to their experience, their aspirations, their motives, their history. Between my lack of biographical data about them and the ambiguity of what they say lies a territory which is not only worthy of exploration, but which it is compulsory to explore.” -H.P.-
One could identify in the avant-garde a thematic preoccupation with the modern city and all its technologies, with the exhilaration of speed, energy, and rapid developments as well with the urban potential for physical, social, and emotional dislocation. That felt dislocation, of course, is nothing less than the fuel and spirit to create interesting and “real life” characters, either in the stage or the cinema. We meet here issues of class, emerging in a more or less enraged response to a postwar climate – when notions of a “truly classless British society” were promoted with a straight face by many of its leaders. “He may be a servant but he’s still a human being”, Tony says.
Back in 1963, when homosexuality was still a criminal offence, and when representing homosexuality on screen was forbidden, Tony and Barrett’s relationship must have seemed “peculiar”: today it is clearly charged with homoerotic attraction. But let us keep in mind that Harold Pinter’s film adaptation is the one of a 1948 novelette written by the British playwright and travel writer Robin Maugham, a nephew of Somerset Maugham. And the book had risen to the challenge of its literary contemporaries. Everyone adored Woodhouse’s “Jeeves and Wooster”. Readers understood how Jeeves had the upper hand. But Jeeves was entirely benign and discreet. He knew his place. So with Pinter they are not exactly having an affair, but more of a class action that sees Barrett manipulating Tony’s sexuality for his own perfidious ends. He knows his place but it is also a game whose rules and goals remain obscure to the audience. The light-blond Tony stares helpless as the dark Barrett follows his pure impulses. Moral corruption is part of the world Losey portrays, and a lucid, cold detachment prevails. “You have a dirty secret, you shall be caught”, Barrett whispers to his master, and even then there’s not one single reason to whisper. Bogarde’s performance accompanies his every ruthless move with a vicious grin. Sex and power seem to outflow. And violence its only the result.
So can we still say that theater is seeking a different area of activity than cinema within its most “real” (representational or documentary) approach of the arts? Does theater frequently try to explore the ways of imitating the fantastic or visionary capability of the film form? Nevertheless, both forms highly depend on the written word, the script or screenplay. The written word needs the courage to deal and develop the trivial, and its banalities. The best stories in screenwriting seem to be made from the most banal material, and these banalities create a very own dynamic and rich, full story. The character is still the key to the complete story, and so you can say that stories are only as good as the characters within them. But these characters differ in their appreciation by the audience, depending whether they watch the actors on screen or if they have them right in front on a stage, in flesh and blood. Also the possibility of interacting with the audience changes the planned characters. While the audience simply has to accept everything that happens within the story and the characters on screen, there is a certain tickle left with the acceptance of the characters on stage. As a member of the audience in a theater there is a sort of interaction possible: the possibility of even talking to an actor during his work and maybe receive a response, whatever that could mean , changes the acceptance of a complete story.
“If I were to state any moral precept it might be: beware of the writer who puts forward his concern for you to embrace, who leaves you in no doubt of his worthiness, his usefulness, his altruism, who declares that his heart is in the right place, and ensures that it can be seen in full view, a pulsating mass where his characters ought to be. What is presented, so much of the time, as a body of active and positive thought is in fact a body lost in a prison of empty definition and cliche.” -H.P.-
But as theater is no longer only linked to the traditional objectivity and its bondage to continuous time and space, cinema gets richer and more vital in adopting exactly those two criteria. Within a formal self-consciousness, the avant-garde becomes an element in the imagination- that we call art- and can also be identified as an inspiring disorder for the purpose of creating, a somehow visionary chaos into the work of art itself. This chaos of realism and naturalism found it in the social-problem play seems based on conventional motivations and of course, moral designs. In The Servant we can say with no exaggeration that we see and hear the patriarchal relationship between God and the individual soul as it has been replaced by the more modern adversarial relationship between man and his own psychology.
In The Servant, Losey shows menservants as they were, indispensable to Britain’s upper classes in earlier decades of that country’s social history. They were essentially male nannies, quiet men whose tasks were to protect the interests of a gentleman, service his household needs with fixed devotion and most importantly, suggest no evidence of an independent will. But they were also largely obsolete by the latter half of the twentieth century, existing exclusively as a hangover from feudal traditions that were dead before the newly privileged were born. Tony (James Fox), being a freshly minted member of Britain’s slowly vanishing aristocracy, doesn’t seem to be aware of this. He sees the employment of a manservant as a positive necessity, a way of observing the forms so essential to his status. And Barrett (Dirk Bogarde) looks to be the best candidate for the job who’s ever drawn a breath. He’s well mannered and exudes competence from every pore. And most important, the man can cook.
The world is revealed, by the location inside the house, and by the actors and their personal use of the interieur, to be pure illusion and also symbolic. Just looking at the mirrors we find located all over the house, like with Alice in Wonderland: are they maybe hiding deeper truths? Deforming mirrors and oblique reflections litter Tony’s apartment, something that will soon turn into his trap.
After Barrett’s redecoration, Tony’s “chairs had been covered in a gay yellow chintz”. Tony is asked by his friend if he is at heart a roving bachelor or a “gay wolf”: “Moderately gay”, is how Tony replies. The word did not yet mean “homosexual” but was in the process of transition. It is all maybe buried within the psyche and concealed behind a mirror, a mirror that needs to be cleaned on and on again, a radical new drama proposed to explore. Barrett will continue to be the man’s servant. He will continue to cook the meals, to fix the drinks, answer the doorbell and lock up at night. Yes, he has attained an enduring power over Tony, but it is a limited power. A power achieved only by performing his duties and by pleasing his employer.
“I am not suggesting that no character in a play can ever say what he in fact means. Not at all. I have found that there invariably does come a moment when this happens, when he says something, perhaps, which he has never said before. And where this happens, what he says is irrevocable, and can never be taken back.” -H.P.-
Through Harold Pinter on Joseph Losey’s : The Servant. By Claudia Siefen-Leitich. Desistfilm, December 17, 2018.
They may be in demand to adapt novels (as Tom Stoppard and Christopher Hampton have done with considerable success) or to oversee screen versions of their best-known stage works. However, whatever their fame or achievements in their own field, they tend to be regarded as hired hands when they venture into film-making. Even when they do deserve credit, they often fail to get it. Few, for example, remember that Clifford Odets, the writer of Waiting for Lefty and Awake and Sing! and a key figure in 1930s New York theatre, also wrote the screenplay for the 1957 masterpiece Sweet Smell of Success.
Harold Pinter is unusual in that he had a substantial – and well-recognised – career in the cinema as well as in the theatre. As a character actor, Pinter popped up in unlikely places. Late in his career, he was seen in full costume garb as the booming voiced patriarch Sir Thomas Bertram in Patricia Rozema's Mansfield Park (1998), as a low-life villain in Jez Butterworth's Mojo (1997) and as the mysterious, ghostlike Uncle Benny in John Boorman's The Tailor of Panama (2001). As this range of characters suggest, Pinter was surprisingly versatile. He could run the gamut from aristocrats to East End thugs.
Pinter was not an especially successful actor in his rep days in the 1950s. Nonetheless, he had many of the same qualities as performers such as Robert Shaw, Ian Holm and Michael Gambon who excelled in his own work: that mix of seediness, bombast, pathos and menace. When he appeared two years ago as an actor in Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape at the Royal Court, critics picked up on the harshness and defiance in his performance. He may have been raddled with ill health, forced to perform from an electric wheelchair, yet that old ferocity was still there.
His writing for cinema covered a remarkably wide spectrum. He scripted thrillers, costume dramas and one very overwrought sci-fi yarn (the ill-starred adaptation of Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale.) He even directed a film, a 1974 adaptation of Simon Gray's play Butley starring Alan Bates as an academic whose life is coming apart at the seams.
Arguably, as far as the film career was concerned, his key creative partnership was with Joseph Losey, the American director who had headed to Britain during the McCarthy era. By the early 1960s, Pinter was already revered as a playwright. Inevitably, movie producers were curious about how they could harness the talents of the writer of The Birthday Party and The Caretaker. The elliptical and menacing style of those plays had discomfited theatre audiences. However, on screen, those pauses, intimidating stares and lines of loaded dialogue could surely have an added resonance. For example, the inane but threatening chatter between the two thugs in The Dumb Waiter about stale eccles cakes and old men being run over by lorries read in hindsight like lines from some gangster movie.
David Caute's exhaustive biography of Losey, A Revenge on Life, begins with the American director seeking out Pinter. Losey had seen Pinter's TV play A Night Out (1960). "It has an intensity and inner truth both horrifying and purgative," he wrote to Pinter. He had put his finger on the quality that would later make his own collaborations with Pinter so distinctive: that jarring, queasy honesty they always seemed to have. The Servant (1963) was the first collaboration between Pinter and Losey. This was an adaptation of a 1947 story by Robin Maugham. Michael Anderson (of Dam Busters fame) had originally commissioned the screenplay, Pinter's first. When Anderson failed to raise financing, the actor Dirk Bogarde tried to interest Losey in the project. Pinter, Bogarde wrote in his autobiography Snakes and Ladders, had "the precision of a master jeweller... his pauses are merely the time-phases which he gives you so that you may develop the thought behind the line he has written".
As David Caute makes clear, Losey forced Pinter to make some changes to the screenplay. This wasn't a case of the lionised stage writer simply delivering a perfectly formed text that the director used as his blueprint. There is still debate as to where Pinter's influence ended and Losey's begun. Whatever the case, writer and director complemented one another. Losey, an American and an outsider, could never have made as trenchant and unsettling an attack as this on the British class system without Pinter as chief accomplice. Contemporary reviewers immediately picked up on Pinter's contribution. Critics recognised Pinter "as a vivid stylist with a flair for tensely ambiguous dialogue".
The Servant may have been Pinter's first screenplay but it was perfectly judged for the time in which it appeared. A few years before, Dirk Bogarde had been appearing as Simon Sparrow in the Doctor in the House comedies and British cinema had seemed horribly cost and complacent. Pinter's screenplay for The Servant gave Bogarde a very different kind of role, as the unctuous and sinister manservant Barrett. It also honed in on the way that old British certainties about class, sex and generation were being undermined. There was something forensic and vicious about the film's portrayal of an effete aristocrat (played by James Fox) ending up in thrall to the servant he ostensibly despises.
Pinter shared with Losey an interest in exploring sexual and social humiliation. Pinter's screenplay for Losey's Accident (1967) again probed such areas in the same relentless way. This time, the setting was Oxbridge academia. In adapting Nicholas Mosley's novel, Pinter honed in on the violence simmering away not so very far beneath the surface of the seemingly placid lives led by the academic protagonists (played by Dirk Bogarde and Stanley Baker). It's a film that begins in the aftermath of a car crash and then – in flashback – exposes the ambition, insecurity and infidelity of these highly educated middle-aged men. Again, Pinter transcended his source material. The screenplays for The Servant and Accident are recognised as being written in Pinter's voice. They are far better known today than the Maugham and Mosley stories on which they are based.
Sometimes, critics and audiences were so busy listening out for signs of Pinter's voice in his work for screen that they missed the craftsmanship with which his screenplays were put together. Marcel Proust wouldn't seem like a natural choice of author for Pinter (or anyone else) to bring to screen and yet he wrote a screenplay of A la recherche du temps perdu for Losey. The film was never made.
Nonetheless, he didn't regard it as time wasted. "Working on A la Recherche was the best working year of my life," the writer later claimed. He had researched the project assiduously, visiting the author's old haunts and taking copious notes while reading the book.
"For three months I read A la recherche every day ... but was left at the end quite baffled as to how to approach a task of such magnitude."
When his screenplay was eventually published, it was still acclaimed as a masterpiece, even if there wasn't a movie to accompany it. "I speak carefully when I say that it's incomparably the best screen adaptation ever made of a great work and that it is in itself a work of genius," proclaimed the influential American film critic Stanley Kauffman.
Pinter's adaptation of John Fowles's The French Lieutenant's Woman, directed by Karel Reisz in 1981, was equally skilful: he realised that successful movies couldn't be created by slavishly following a novelist's original text. The screenwriter's skill was in condensing and reworking the text without muting the original author's voice.
Not all Pinter's forays into cinema turned out well. His screenplay for Kenneth Branagh's Sleuth (2007) seemed cold and mannered, too much a formal exercise and too short on the brio that galvanised Joseph L Mankiewicz's 1972 version of Anthony Schaffer's play (scripted by Schaffer himself). A Handmaid's Tale, directed by Volker Schlöndorff, teetered on the edge of preposterousness. Margaret Atwood's novel is a dystopian fable about a misogynistic, right-wing society. The film it spawned played like a cheesy B-movie.
These misfires were rare. Pinter's film career will always be regarded as secondary. It's his plays that matter most. Nonetheless, whether it's movie adaptations of his own works or screenplays he has written for others, the Pinter filmography is impressive enough in its own right. There are also plenty of film-makers – from David Mamet to Atom Egoyan and Neil LaBute – who acknowledge their debt to him.
Harold Pinter: True star of the screen. By Geoffrey MacNab. The Independent, December 27, 2008.