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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

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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
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Wallace Shawn, who plays John Lahr, is (in addition to being an actor) an acclaimed playwright and screenwriter. Until her 1991 death, his play agent was Peggy Ramsay, who was also Joe Orton's agent and who appears in this film as the character played by Vanessa Redgrave. 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

Kenneth Halliwell: [preparing to dictate an offensive letter] Seat yourself at our trusty Remington, John, and we shall piss on this person from a great height.
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Connections

Referenced in Urinal (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Zadok the Priest
(uncredited)
Music by George Frideric Handel
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User Reviews

Essential Joe Orton Bio
23 September 1999 | by See all my reviews

The single best biographical film I've ever seen. Gary Oldman, Alfred Molina, and Vanessa Redgrave are all brilliant. (Check out Simon Callow's book "Love Is Where It Falls" for more information on the Vanessa Redgrave character.) Much of the last third of the film is difficult to take, but it is nevertheless essential viewing for anyone interested in Joe Orton. And it needs to be said that there is real joy in the film as well -- particularly in the mischievous looks that cross Oldman's face while cruising tea rooms. Has any other het actor played gay so utterly convincingly?


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