Title: A Private Function
Author: Alan Bennett
Page Count: 308
This book basically brings together the screenplays for five of Bennett’s different movies: The Old Crowd, A Private Function, Prick Up Your Ears, 102 Boulevard Haussmann and The Madness of King George. As is to be expected with any compilation like this, I liked some of the screenplays more than others, and by all accounts they were better as stage plays anyway.
Still, I’m glad that I picked this one up, and while I’ve changed my mind and I doubt I’ll be watching all of the movies that were made out of this, I’ll be checking out one or two of them. I think it’s also pretty cool because Bennett is at his best when he’s writing dialogue, at least in my opinion, and dialogue automatically shines in screenplays.
I also think that some of my favourite parts of this book were the introductions to the different screenplays, but then I’ve always liked getting a little extra context on what I’m reading. Strangely, though, that only really applies when I’m reading an author talking about their own work, as otherwise I like to go in pretty blind.
All in all then, I’m a fan of Alan Bennett’s work and so I was pretty happy with it, and with five screenplays in a single collection, there’s a lot here for you to enjoy. Even if you don’t like one of them, you’ll probably like the others.
And if nothing else, it’s a fascinating insight into the way that films are made and the changes that are made along the way. For example, he wrote stage directions for pigs, but obviously there’s no way of ensuring that pigs actually follow them. So yeah, a fun, recommended read. Have some fun!