The on-screen history of Harold Pinter -- We see how well the Nobel Prize winning author's have translated into films
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Yes, verbal acrobat and master of the loaded pause Harold Pinter, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature Oct. 13, is a renowned playwright (The Caretaker, The Homecoming) and acclaimed director of his own melancholy material. But he’s also a first in Nobel history: a major adapter of others’ novels for the screen, many of which are on DVD. Some highlights.

1 THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT’S WOMAN (1981) Pinter’s creation of a parallel plot about dallying actors (Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons) shooting the 19th-century story told in John Fowles’ novel captures the book’s elusive spirit.

2 TURTLE DIARY (1985) Ben Kingsley and Glenda Jackson head up an unexpectedly light, but characteristically quiet, take on Russell Hoban’s 1975 novel about two middle-aged Londoners who are obsessed with giant sea turtles.

3 THE HANDMAID’S TALE (1990) Pinter’s compressed version of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian fable, with Natasha Richardson as Robert Duvall’s concubine, addresses important issues of feminism and totalitarianism.

4 THE COMFORT OF STRANGERS (1991) Sparse dialogue and understated horror suit Ian McEwan’s 1981 character study of a carnivorous Venetian couple and the innocents (Rupert Everett and Richardson, again) caught in their web.

5 THE TRIAL (1993) The simmering outrage of Franz Kafka’s unjustly accused Josef K. (Kyle MacLachlan) gets short shrift in this simplified adaptation of the Austrian’s posthumously published 1925 novel. Hey, even Nobel laureates can make mistakes!

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