Biographer John Lahr is writing a book about playwright Joe Orton. Joe and Kenneth meet at drama school and live together for ten years as lovers and collaborators. Both want to be writers, but only one of them is successful.
This movie is the story of the spectacular life and violent death of British playwright Joe Orton (Gary Oldman). In his teens, Orton is befriended by the older, more reserved Kenneth Halliwell (Alfred Molina), 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 environments. 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 <email@example.com>
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 »
[as Joe's sister mixes his and Kenneth's ashes]
I hope nobody gets to hear about this in Leicester.
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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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