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Putting Harold Pinter in his place


My daughter Sarah
Frederic Raphael Writer
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Sarah... was a wonderful person. And she had all the nerve – and the... and the anxiety – but she had all the nerve which I haven’t had.

And one time when we were going to a screening of a... Academy Award screening in those little theatres in Soho, we all had drinks first and then we went in to watch this film. And about 20 minutes before the end of a very long film – it was The Verdict with Paul Newman – two, rather drunk chichi people in leather coats came in and sat in the stalls with us and began to talk very loudly during the movie. It was a fairly tedious movie but we had been there for two hours and we had reached the climax of it and they were sending up the film and they were talking and all the rest of it.

And the lights went up. And Sarah still had her half a glass of orange juice which she had not drunk from the buffet before. And without a moment’s hesitation, she turned round and she threw it straight onto them. And all this orange juice – and there’s always more orange juice in a glass that’s been thrown than a glass that’s being drunk – went all over them and dribbled down all the fringy stuff they had on. And she said to me, ‘Charlie Lederer’. She remembered, pulling the cabinet down with the jade in it.

Sarah had the nerve to do that and the looks. She was a wonderful painter and a person of extraordinary qualities. She loved Greece more than... the island of Greece – the island of Ios – more than anything else in the world. And she was a great painter. And the response to her work in this country has been extremely grudging. But there it is.

Born in America in 1931, Frederic Raphael is a writer who moved to England as a boy. He was educated at Charterhouse School and was a Major Scholar in Classics at St John's College, Cambridge. His articles and book reviews appear in a number of newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times and The Sunday Times. He has published more than twenty novels, the best-known being the semi-autobiographical The Glittering Prizes (1976). In 1965 Raphael won an Oscar for the screenplay for the movie Darling, and two years later received an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for Two for the Road. In 1999, he published Eyes Wide Open, a memoir of his collaboration with the director Stanley Kubrick on the screenplay of Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick's final movie. Raphael lives in France and England and became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1964.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Sarah Raphael

Duration: 1 minute, 50 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2014

Date story went live: 10 September 2014