Prick Up Your Ears
THEY SHARED EVERYTHING … EXCEPT SUCCESS!
A true story about a love affair ending in a shocking murder/suicide. Joe Orton was a winner of several awards for his plays “Loot” and “Entertaining Mr Sloane”. He was also an extremely promiscuous homosexual at a time when that was enough to get a man imprisoned. This film charts Orton’s life in a series of flashbacks.
In his research on the celebrated playwright Joe Orton (Gary Oldman, The Dark Knight), biographer John Lahr’s (Wallace Shawn, The Princess Bride) meetings with Orton’s literary agent, Peggy Ramsay (Vanessa Redgrave, Howard’s End) frame the story of the life of an artist. Told through flashbacks, the film reveals the relationship between Orton and his mentor (and subsequently, his lover) Kenneth Halliwell (Alfred Molina, The Da Vinci Code).
At first blush the older Halliwell was the educator and Orton his willing student. Those roles were reversed with Orton thrust into the spotlight when his play, Entertaining Mr. Sloan, became a monstrous success. Orton’s sudden fame and career trajectory placed Halliwell in his shadow, resulting in tragic consequences.
The talents of Redgrave, Oldman and Molina are a virtual master class on screen acting. Guiding them through their paces via a wonderful screenplay by Alan Bennett (The History Boys), based on the book by John Lahr, director Stephen Frears (The Queen) weaves a compelling, caustic, often humorous and never less than entertaining tale of fleeting fame.