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 »
A doctor's wife tires of his obsession with model trains, and spends her days wondering about the son she gave up for adoption at birth. While eating at a roadside café, she encounters a ... See full summary »
An aimless young man, Johnny, is sent prison. He entrusts his beloved dog, Evie, to the care of his former lover and best friend, Frank. When he gets out of prison, he has to face ... See full summary »
Bo is a transexual prostitute in Brussels who left home after being abused by her father. She's now in an abusive relationship with a neighbor and suspected by the police in a series of ... See full summary »
Divorced working woman Alex and well-to-do Jewish family doctor Daniel Hirsh share not only the same answering service but also the favours of young Bob Elkin who bed-hops between them as ... See full summary »
A group of Devonport-based Royal Navy ratings, due to sail to America for a six-month NATO exercise, go out on the town on their last night in port, hitting Plymouth's notorious Union ... See full summary »
Fernando, a.k.a. Fernanda, a 19-year-old Brazilian transgender woman, travels to Milan and becomes a prostitute to finance sex-change surgery. Fernanda dreams of becoming a "real" woman, ... See full summary »
Ingrid de Souza,
Gregory invites seven friends to spend the summer at his large, secluded 19th-century home in upstate New York. The seven are: Bobby, Gregory's "significant other," who is blind but who ... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
If they could have been traditionally married, they could have been traditionally divorced
Before writing this I saw an interview with Kenneth Williams best known as being part of the Carry On troupe. He gave some interesting insights into Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell. As a gay man himself Williams experienced and felt the same things in the days before sodomy laws were repealed in the United Kingdom, considerably before they were in the USA. The pressures of living as a couple increased exponentially especially a May/August couple as Orton and Halliwell were.
Joe Orton whose work I'd like to see and is curiously unavailable is played by Gary Oldman and we see him as a young writer befriended and mentored by Kenneth Halliwell who is older and played by Alfred Molina. Williams says that in his opinion there is no doubt the influence that Halliwell had on Orton's work. But they were two very different types of personality and probably were fated to come apart. Especially when Halliwell who mentored Orton was not finding any success with his own writing. In the end it destroyed them.
Great Britain had some strict sodomy laws as Oscar Wilde was living testimony to. Gay artists however got different treatments depending on who their patrons were. Oscar Wilde and the Orton/Halliwell duo in their respective generations were treated one way. But Noel Coward moved at the highest levels of British society and he had a Teflon like immunity from what befell the other three.
The film is told in flashback with Vanessa Redgrave as Orton's agent telling his biographer Wallace Shawn what the two were about individually and separately. Both Oldman and Molina were brilliant.
I can't help thinking that if they could have been traditionally married back then, they could also have been traditionally divorced when the love faded. That certainly would have been better all around.
But then we would not have had this fascinating tragedy.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this