Beckett and Film

Waiting for Beckett
1994, 86 minutes, color.

Produced and directed by John Reilly and Melissa Shaw-Smith

Interviews with: Mary Manning, Steve Martin, Bill Irwin and others.

Apmonia will be reviewing this award-winning documentary soon. The producers provide the following information:

Waiting for Beckett is the first American documentary on Samuel Beckett. This 86 minute program profiles the life of this extraordinary man who shunned publicity throughout his life and yet became a worldwide cultural influence. His plays and novels have been studied and performed on every continent and translated into more than twenty languages. In the United States alone his most famous play, Waiting for Godot, has sold over one and a half million copies and has captivated some of the best minds of our time.

This documentary, which was undertaken with the blessing and guidance of Samuel Beckett himself, took over five years to make and features many unique elements: excerpts from outstanding performances, historical footage and first-time interviews. Mary Manning, the only known surviving family friend who grew up with Beckett, recounts personal anecdotes recalling their childhood in Ireland. Interviews with the villagers of Roussillon in the south of France recall the important but hitherto unknown period in Beckett's life when, as a member of the French Resistance, he was forced to remain there in hiding. Excerpts from Beckett's private correspondence provide an astonishing and often humorous insight into his personal opinions of his life and art.

Beckett, who died in 1989 at the age of 83, is shown in the documentary turning a videotaped stage performance of his last play, "What Where," into a highly stylized video production. He comments at length as he works.

Waiting for Beckett also features actors Steve Martin and Bill Irwin performing and discussing their personal response to Beckett's work, rare archival footage of Burgess Meredith and Zero Mostel in the first television production of Waiting for Godot and famous performances by Jack McGowran, Patrick Magee and Billie Whitelaw.

Ordering Information

Waiting for Beckett
Global Village, 1994, VHS, $45.00

Waiting for Beckett & Peephole Art
(Combination deal: the two videos complemented by a study guide, written by Beckett scholars, that provides detailed background information on the life and works of Samuel Beckett.)
Global Village, 1994, VHS, $99.95

Prices include shipping and handling. Orders may be placed by phone, fax or in writing. Checks, money orders and travelers checks are acceptable. Sorry, credit cards are currently not being accepted. Checks should be made out to Global Village.

Format of the tapes is (American) NTSC. PAL copies, overseas shipping and special bulk order rates are available. Call for details.

Orders and information requests to:

Melissa Shaw-Smith
69 Walling Road
Warwick, NY 10990

Telephone/FAX: (845)258-1095

Additional Information

Global Village page -- Based from, this page holds the above information, combined with Peephole Art.

Apmonia "Peephole Art" page -- Apmonia's entry for Peephole Art on the "Beckett and film" section.

--Allen B. Ruch
6 March 2003

Email Apmonia -- Send email to Tim Conley and the Great Quail -- comments, suggestions, corrections, criticisms, submissions . . . all are welcome!

Return to the Beckett Film Page.