Prick Up Your Ears

( 2 )

Overview

This unadorned biography of playwright Joe Orton Gary Oldman charts his bawdy, dangerous relationships. Alfred Molina plays Orton's brutish lover, Kenneth Halliwell, a pathetic figure who becomes horrific and then tragic before the film is over. The hilarity of scenes from such Orton plays as Loot and What the Butler Saw is evenly balanced by the bleakness of the playwright's tormented and tormenting off-stage existence, which ended suddenly at age 34 with half a dozen blows to the head from a hammer. Prick Up ...
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Overview

This unadorned biography of playwright Joe Orton Gary Oldman charts his bawdy, dangerous relationships. Alfred Molina plays Orton's brutish lover, Kenneth Halliwell, a pathetic figure who becomes horrific and then tragic before the film is over. The hilarity of scenes from such Orton plays as Loot and What the Butler Saw is evenly balanced by the bleakness of the playwright's tormented and tormenting off-stage existence, which ended suddenly at age 34 with half a dozen blows to the head from a hammer. Prick Up Your Ears is based on the book by theater critic John Lahr, who is played in the film by Wallace Shawn.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
A playwright whose career was as brilliant as it was brief, Joe Orton made his name with plays whose anarchic quality mirrored the tumult of his own life. Brash, unapologetically homosexual, and possessing unbridled cheek, Orton was a vibrant personality, merrily jeering in the face of proper society until he died suddenly and violently, bludgeoned to death by his longtime lover, Kenneth Halliwell. The story of Orton's life would be easy to sentimentalize or sensationalize, but director Stephen Frears focuses on a portrait of what was essentially a very bad marriage. As told in flashbacks from the vantage point of Orton's agent (Vanessa Redgrave) and biographer (Wallace Shawn), the conclusion of Orton and Halliwell's relationship is a foregone one; what remains is for the viewer to sit back and watch the water come to a boil. Much of the film's strength can be found in Gary Oldman and Alfred Molina's portrayals of Orton and Halliwell. Oldman bears an uncanny resemblance to the playwright, and his performance is sexy, dangerous, and utterly compelling. Molina invests Halliwell with the needy gloom of an unwanted lover; the wary hurt in his eyes tells us all we need to know about where he's headed. Their moody, ever-shifting relationship mirrors the mercurial transformation of the stuffy 1950s into the swinging 1960s; there is exhilaration to be savored, but also the bitter taste of chaos lurking beneath.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/15/2004
  • UPC: 883904128816
  • Original Release: 1987
  • Source: Mgm (Video & Dvd)
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gary Oldman Joe Orton
Alfred Molina Kenneth Halliwell
Vanessa Redgrave Peggy Ramsay
Wallace Shawn John Lahr
Julie Walters Elsie Orton
Frances Barber Leonie Orton
James Grant William Orton
Lindsay Duncan Anthea Lahr
Janet Dale Mrs. Sugden
Dave Atkins Mr. Sugden
Simon Adams Undertaker's Boy
Stephen Bill George Barnett
Jane Blackburn Women in Gallery
David Bradley Undertaker
Mark Brignal Beatles' Chauffeur
Selina Cadell Miss Datersby
David Cardy Brian Epstein
Antony Carrick Counsel
Joanne Connelly Stage Manager
Garry Cooper Actor
Moktar Dagmouni Moroccan Boy
Philippa Davies Peggy Ramsay's Secretary
Noel Davis Philip
Anthony Douse BBC Actor
Neil Dudgeon Policeman
James Duggan Labourer
Ahmed El-Jheur Moroccan Boy
Christopher Guinee Publisher
Robin Hooper Mortuary Attendant
Richard Ireson Man Outside Lavatory
William Job RADA Chairman
Karl Johnson Douglas Orton
John Kane Director
Rosalind Knight RADA Judge
Julie Legrand Gallery owner
Spencer Leigh Constable
Angus MacKay RADA Judge
Steven Mackintosh Simon Ward
Charles McKowen Mr. Cunliffe
Helena Michell Orton's Friend
John Moffatt Wigmaker
Michael Mueller BBC Actor
Roger Lloyd Pack Actor
Bert Parnaby Magistrate
Sean Pertwee Orton's Friend
Neville Phillips Man in Gallery
Jonathan Phillips Youth Outside Lavatory
Eric Richard Education Officer
Stella Richman Women in Gallery
Stevan Rimkus Kenneth
John Salthouse Chauffeur
Joan Sanderson Anthea's Mother
Neville Smith Police Inspector
Linda Spurrier RADA Instructor
Max Stafford-Clark Honourable President
Liam Staic Brickie
Sian Thomas Marilyn Orton
Margaret Tyzack Mme. Lambert
Richard Wilson Psychiatrist
Charlotte Wodehouse Janet
Technical Credits
Stephen Frears Director
Andrew Brown Producer
Mick Audsley Editor
Alan Bennett Screenwriter
Elaine Carew Makeup
Harry Carroll Songwriter
Philip Elton Art Director, Set Decoration/Design
John Harle Musical Direction/Supervision
Tony Jackson Sound/Sound Designer
John Lennon Songwriter
Hugo Luczyc-Wyhowski Production Designer
Paul McCartney Songwriter
Debbie McWilliams Casting
Stanley Myers Score Composer, Songwriter
Richard Myhill Songwriter
Bob Ringwood Costumes/Costume Designer
Oliver Stapleton Cinematographer
Ann Wingate Production Manager
Michael Zimbrich Asst. Director
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 21, 2012

    Awesome movie....Oldman and Molina should have got an Oscar for

    Awesome movie....Oldman and Molina should have got an Oscar for their great performance! Funny, dramatic, and tragic, all in one movie! Recommend this movie very highly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews