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Prick Up Your Ears (1987)

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 »

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(screenplay), (based on the biography by)
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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James Grant ...
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Janet Dale ...
Dave Atkins ...
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Madame Lambert
Eric Richard ...
Education Officer
William Job ...
RADA Chairman
Rosalind Knight ...
RADA Judge
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.


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

8 May 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das stürmische Leben des Joe Orton  »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,654,743
See more on IMDbPro »

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Technical Specs

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Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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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. But new pence weren't introduced until 1971. See more »

Quotes

Joe Orton: [accepting a drama award] My plays are about getting away with it, and the ones who get away with it are the guilty ones. It's the innocents who get it in the neck. But that all seems pretty true to life to me. Not a fantasy at all. I've got away with it *so far*
[hoisting trophy]
Joe Orton: and I'm going to go on.
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Soundtracks

Dancing Hearts
Music by Stanley Myers
Lyrics by Richard Myhill
Arranged by Richard Myhill
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User Reviews

 
A loving punch in the gut
25 November 2017 | by See all my reviews

Gary Oldman plays real life British 60's sensation Joe Orton, the author of "Entertaining Mr. Sloane". His performance, for me, goes at the very core of a gallery of real life characters who run the gamut from A to Z and then some. From Sid Vicious to Ludwig Van Beethoven, from Lee Harvey Oswald to Joe Orton and in 2017 Winston Churchill - not to mention fictional literary characters like Count Dracula. With Joe Orton, Gary Oldman reaches some kind of mountain top. He finds innocence in this emotional and sexual misfit and he projects Orton's genius with a profound flawed humanity. His tragic lover is played by another extraordinary actor, Alfred Molina - I've just seen him in "Feud" playing Robert Aldrich with such virtuosity that I have developed a personal relationship with Aldrich as if I knew him personally. Oldman and Molina create something we've never seen before and Stephen Frears know exactly how to capture it. As if this wasn't enough, Vanessa Redgrave play's Orton's agent. Even if you've never heard of Joe Orton, do yourself a favor, venture into this dark and human universe.


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