Written by Samuel Beckett and directed by Alan Schneider, Film is in essence a chase film—arguably the craziest committed to celluloid. It’s a chase between camera and pursued image that finds dread embedded in the very apparatus. The link to cinema’s essence is evident in the casting, as the chased object is none other than an aged Buster Keaton, who was befuddled at Beckett’s imperative to keep the character's face hidden from the camera’s gaze.
Preservation funded by the Film Foundation and administered by the National Film Preservation Foundation.
Play of the Week: Waiting for Godot
(Directed by Alan Schneider, USA, 1961, 102 min.)
Premiering in 1959 on WNTA-TV in New York, the ambitious experiment Play of the Week presented an eclectic mix of plays that, according to series producer Lewis Freedman, “no one else would touch.” As an independently produced series, Play of the Week was not subject to the same McCarthy-inspired scrutiny as network television programs of the era. Thanks to progressive casting decisions by producers such as David Susskind, actor Zero Mostel, who suffered years of unemployment for refusing to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, enjoyed a comeback after being selected for Samuel Beckett’s absurdist masterpiece, Waiting for Godot. Mostel and Burgess Meredith are keen existential partners in this wry drama of deferred desire and stymied reward. No fan of the tube, Beckett once wrote, "My play wasn't written for this box. My play was written for small men locked in a big space.” Nevertheless, the (50-year) wait is over for this small production that’s big on meaning.