7.3/10
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Prick Up Your Ears (1987)

R | | Biography, Drama | 8 May 1987 (USA)
This film is the story of the spectacular life and violent death of British playwright Joe Orton. In his teens, Orton is befriended by the older, more reserved Kenneth Halliwell, and while ... See full summary »

Director:

Stephen Frears

Writers:

John Lahr (based on the biography by), Alan Bennett (screenplay)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Oldman ... Joe Orton
Alfred Molina ... Kenneth Halliwell
Vanessa Redgrave ... Peggy Ramsay
Wallace Shawn ... John Lahr
Lindsay Duncan ... Anthea Lahr
Julie Walters ... Elsie Orton
James Grant James Grant ... William Orton
Frances Barber ... Leonie Orton
Janet Dale Janet Dale ... Mrs Sugden
Dave Atkins Dave Atkins ... Mr Sugden
Margaret Tyzack ... Madame Lambert
Eric Richard ... Education Officer
William Job William Job ... RADA Chairman
Rosalind Knight Rosalind Knight ... RADA Judge
Angus MacKay Angus MacKay ... RADA Judge
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Storyline

This film is the story of the spectacular life and violent death of British playwright Joe Orton. In his teens, Orton is befriended by the older, more reserved Kenneth Halliwell, and while the two begin a relationship, it's fairly obvious that it's not all about sex. Orton loves the dangers of bath-houses and liaisons in public restrooms; Halliwell, not as charming or attractive as Orton, doesn't fare so well in those environs. While both long to become writers, it is Orton who achieves fame - his plays "Entertaining Mr. Sloane" and "Loot" become huge hits in London of the sixties, and he's even commissioned to write a screenplay for the Beatles. But Orton's success takes him farther from Halliwell, whose response ended both his life and the life of the up-and-coming playwright. Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They shared everything - except success.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 May 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das stürmische Leben des Joe Orton See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$38,643, 19 April 1987

Gross USA:

$1,654,743

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,672,927
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kenneth Halliwell created the title "Prick Up Your Ears" for Orton's (never produced) film for The Beatles called "Up Against It", but Orton said: "This is much too good a title to waste on a film." See more »

Goofs

When Joe's agent first meets him in 1964, she asks him how he's been supporting himself. He tells her he's on public assistance, getting £3.10 per week. New pence weren't introduced until 1971. However, in the pre-decimal era, "Three pounds ten" would have been understood as "Three pounds and ten shillings", the present-day equivalent being £3.50. For example, "Maggie Mae", recorded by the Beatles in 1969 but based on a much older traditional song, includes the line "Two pounds ten a week, that was my pay." See more »

Quotes

Anthea's Mother: [reading Joe's diary] Read all morning, but got another hard-on. Just putting soap on it when mum came in. Said I thought I had a spot coming. Mum quiet all through meal.
[to Anthea]
Anthea's Mother: I should think so! Does it go on like this?
Anthea Lahr: No, the early ones stop just when his life got interesting.
Anthea's Mother: Hmm. Sounds quite interesting already.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Urinal (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Dancing Hearts
Music by Stanley Myers
Lyrics by Richard Myhill
Arranged by Richard Myhill
See more »

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User Reviews

A Great Combination Between Alfred Molina and Gary Oldman
17 August 1999 | by roland-27See all my reviews

Its films like these that make you wonder why stars like Gary Oldman(Immortal Beloved) and Alfred Molina(Boogie Nights) aren't noticed as much as the awful actors that plague our screens(see Mark Wahlberg or Ray Liotta).

Prick Up Your Ears is a wonderful film about the writer Joe Orton(Oldman) and his lover Kenneth(Molina). The dialogue is smart and the acting is incredible. Rating=4/5

In addition, I would just like to say that teenagers can enjoy decent films. I was twelve when I watched this, and I found it amazing. Its the film that sparked off my fascination with Gary Oldman films.


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