Customer Reviews


34 Reviews
5 star:
 (22)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prick Up Your Eyes!
A new and special edition of this 1987 film starring Gary Oldman before his downfall, brings the life of Joe Orton to the screen. In doing some research as to why yet another re-release was needed to be, I found out through searching the internet these extra added features:

DVD special features:
Interview With Stephen Frears.
Recollections Of Leonie...
Published on 20 July 2008 by R. Max Totten

versus
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More ears than pricks
Gary Oldman's spunky performance as the 1960s playwright Joe Orton prevents 'Prick Up Your Ears' from being classed with the slew of 'as it was' Britflicks that the nostalgia-hungry 1980s brought forth; otherwise, many of the standard hallmarks are present - luvvies playing 'real life' characters, periodic displays of off-the-shelf angst, and topical and biographic...
Published on 7 Jan. 2010 by James Hayes


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More ears than pricks, 7 Jan. 2010
By 
James Hayes "JM Hayes" (Herts., UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Gary Oldman's spunky performance as the 1960s playwright Joe Orton prevents 'Prick Up Your Ears' from being classed with the slew of 'as it was' Britflicks that the nostalgia-hungry 1980s brought forth; otherwise, many of the standard hallmarks are present - luvvies playing 'real life' characters, periodic displays of off-the-shelf angst, and topical and biographic exposition shoved into the screenplay so that any audience member who's unfamiliar with the 'actual' story behind the film is not excluded; and let's not forget the inevitable London double-decker bus trundling past in the period street scenes (at least the one in PUYE had a purpose: transporting Orton's character to a romp in a public lavatory).
But perhaps the biggest flaw in Alan Bennett's script is that it fails to convey much sense of Orton's work, literary brilliance, and therefore, why the man warrants this attention.
That said, anyone interested in Orton, or the British theatre in the late 1960s, will have fun watching this film.
N.B. anyone considering buying this Special Edition to see the 1967 Orton TV appearance Special Feature: this is NOT the full interview, just a meagre 120 seconds of it. It is outrageously misleading of ITV DVD not to make this clear, or to make clear why the excerpt is so short, seeing as many will buy this edition specifically to see this item.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prick Up Your Eyes!, 20 July 2008
By 
R. Max Totten (San Francisco, California) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A new and special edition of this 1987 film starring Gary Oldman before his downfall, brings the life of Joe Orton to the screen. In doing some research as to why yet another re-release was needed to be, I found out through searching the internet these extra added features:

DVD special features:
Interview With Stephen Frears.
Recollections Of Leonie Barnett.
1967 Interview Of Joe Orton With Eamonn Andrews.
Subtitles:
English Hard Of Hearing

Just the thought of seeing a filmed interview with the real-life Joe Orton, if that is indeed what is presented here, is well worth the price of admission to this colorful and remarkable piece of gay cinema. Hopefully in the future, there may be a full fledge documentary on Joe Orton as he seems to be still a rather mysterious but playful and original playright of the twentieth century.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad but true, 14 Mar. 2000
By A Customer
This true story, based on John Lahr's biography of the playwright Joe Orton, is not for the squeamish. Orton (author of 'Loot' and 'Entertaining Mr Sloane' and real-life friend of Kenneth Williams) is played brilliantly by Gary Oldman, while his partner, the less successful and thus increasingly bitter Kenneth Halliwell, is recreated by Alfred Molina. Fond of picking up men in the public toilets of London, Orton lives life to the full, knowing no self-control whatsoever. His rise to fame is meteoric, while Halliwell - portrayed as possibly the better artist - is never recognised. Orton's brutal murder at the close of the film is a heart-stopping shock - but it's portrayed as it actually happened - he was beaten to death with a hammer by his lover, before Halliwell took his own life with an overdose.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frears and Bennett pull it off again!, 6 July 2013
By 
schumann_bg - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Prick Up Your Ears [1987] [DVD] (DVD)
Prick Up Your Ears is a superb film that relishes crudeness as befits its subject. Stephen Frears has proved again and again to be one of the great directors, both prolific and varied, and he has made a number of gay interest films, including My Beautiful Laundrette and Mrs Henderson Presents - and this one. His collaboration with Alan Bennett has produced some timeless television films but this must be their biggest-scale production, and the script bristles with funny lines, so much so it is almost dangerous, you feel, there being a large dose of subversion in there too. Bennett has written brilliant scripts about other writers, namely Proust and Kafka, but this one gives him the freest rein with gay-oriented material. Gary Oldman is fantastic as Joe Orton, unbelievably sexy with his y-fronts and cheeky grin. You simply believe he is Joe Orton, possibly enhanced by this radiant sexiness. Alfred Molina is also outstanding as Kenneth Halliwell, managing to compensate for the script's bias toward Orton in terms of focus. You do feel very sorry for him, and Orton, while never sacrificing a sexual encounter, nevertheless does show some consideration, trying to set Halliwell up with tricks of his own and being fairly tolerant really with his very depressed antics. The London of the time is superbly refracted through an 80s sensibility, while the interiors - their flat, for instance - are full of interesting details, with a camera that seems to capture everything in just the right rhythm, and from the right angles, something I always find with Frears, but less and less with other directors. An episode in Morocco gives rise to more highly sexy goings-on ... Vanessa Redgrave and Julie Walters must be mentioned too for their brilliant turns, and what a pleasure to see Wallace Shawn giving the seal of excellence to the whole thing - time out from his discussions with Andre Gregory ...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars cruel love, the emergence of talent, and self destruction, 16 May 2011
By 
rob crawford "Rob Crawford" (Balmette Talloires, France) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
I saw this 20 years ago and remembered it vividly. Having recently added it to my collection, I can confirm that it has aged well and lost none of its hilarious pungency. There are many levels on which this film can be enjoyed. First, it is a about gay life in an era - the 60s - when things are opening up. This is a fascinating portrait that does not attempt to gloss over or hide the promiscuity, the occasional danger, and the never-ending search for love and sex. It is very raw, yet funny. Of particular interest is a sex tourism trip they take to Morocco.

Second, it is about a weird relationship that combines love and need with hatred and cruelty, where one partner grows past the other who is in a downward spiral of depression and rage. Though between two men, it is a pattern found in many troubled relationships. Orten also comes for a strange lower middle class family, which is at times funny and very sad.

Third, it is about the difficult birth of a major talent, perhaps one of the most interesting such portraits I have ever seen. Orten starts off trying to act, then gets on the dole and more or less does what he wants, all the time studying and attempting to hone his writing. His lover serves as a mentor, introducing him to a corpus of work and long discussion. One of the most interesting parts of this is his relationship to a literary agent, Redgrave, who helps to manage his talent while profiting from it and enhancing her own career - it is subtle and deeply ambiguous stuff.

The plot is framed by a literary investigation by Orten's biographers, one of whom is Wallace Shawn. In her incisive manner, Redgrave is guiding the effort, which adds an additional layer to the story. It is very clever and throws much of what is discovered into doubt.

This is a true masterpiece, far better than My Beautiful Laundrette or Sammy and Rosie Get Laid. It can be viewed many times for interesting nuggets yet remains open to interpretation. The actors are absolutely perfect in each part.

Recommended with enthusiasm.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but flawed, 6 Aug. 2007
By 
Thomas N. Orchard (Manchester) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Prick Up Your Ears [1987] [DVD] (DVD)
This is a great film that is really best seen on the big screen. It was a revelation to see it recently in the cinema since you can see all the detail of the collage in the Noel Road flat plus you realise how much of the sex scenes have been cut from the DVD version. I would say the DVD is a good 10 minutes shorter than the cinema version. Both are still mono too which is a shame since the song "By the beautiful sea!" which they sing as they run on the beach in Tangier with all the Moroccan boys would have benefitted by being in glorious stereo.
That said this is still an outstanding study of one man on the up (Orton) and another on the down (Halliwell). We only see Halliwell after he meets Orton so we see nothing of his early life during WW2, his acting in Scotland, his unpleasant father etc, but we do see the young Orton as he struggles to be an actor in Leicester. So it is a bit of a lop-sided portrayal of the two men, possibly concentrating a bit too much on Halliwell's misery. (He wasn't always like that of course.) The scenes from their flat and London life are authentic and Alan Bennett's script is just as sharp as the one he wrote for the film "A Private Function". A better film could probably be made but it would have to delve more deeply into Halliwell's early life to satisfy me. Until then this biopic by Stephen Frears will do nicely.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Prick up your ears, 9 Dec. 2012
By 
SilentSinger "Wife, mother, reader. Preferred... (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This is now the second time I've watched this film on DVD and I was impressed by the special features on offer and watched two of them, which is a fairly rare thing for me to do these days. One of them was an extract from a chat show where the host, Eamon Andrews quizzed Orton about his recent incarceration for library book vandalism and another, was an interview with the film's director, Stephen Frears, which was fairly illuminating.

I enjoyed the pace and look of the film and believe the casting to be rather wonderful - Gary Oldman as Orton is amazing, as is Vanessa Redgrave as his agent Peggy but special mention must be made of Alfred Molina's portrayal of Orton's partner, Kenneth Halliwell who gave a perfect portrayal of disappointed, disillusioned despair and misery. The other characters were well drawn and seemed very comfortable - Julie Walters' cameo, playing Orton's mother was good as was Frances Barber as Orton's sister.

Although it was an excellent film I did think that there was something missing from the mix but I cannot quite put my finger on it. It has made me want to go and see one of Orton's plays though and find out a little more about the man behind the talent.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars a brave attempt, 14 May 2011
By 
Robert K. Macdonald "robert" (stockport/uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having read Joe Ortons diaries but having repeatedly missed this film adaptation on its showing on film 4, i decided to look for a copy of the film, the cast in the most part are 'well cast' , but on the whole i felt the film could have spent more time illustrating Joe's life in the broader sense, he and Kenneth Williams were great friends, Joe had been a huge 'pick me up' when Kenneth W. was at his lowest, he( KW) also appeared in the first faild run of loot, though this didn't detract from their friendship, they spent a lot of time together, went on holidays and so on, for me the film focussed on too shorter a span in Joes' life in fact just the last few months before Kenneth Haliwell killed him, the months and years of his life leading up to that point were only briefly touched upon which was a shame!!. Then i feel too much artistic license was used when Haliwell killed 1st Joe, then himself, no one was there yet this whole complicated overly dramatic scene was played out in the film, which was a complete figurement of the imagination of the screenplay author and spoilt what for me was an ok adaptation of a very short period of time in a very talented and subversive characters life!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, disturbing, but great acting!, 24 Sept. 2002
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
All I can say about this film is summed up in 5 words:
Dark, Disturbing but great acting!
Wonderful, but disturbing at times. Gary Oldmans finest performance ever.
Just wish he'd done more films like this so he can show everyone that he is the great actor I know he is!
This film isn't to everyones taste, but the true story behind it is worth watching, to see how such a talented playwright was untimely struck down and how his gay lover was found naked and dead in his room.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Prick up your ears., 16 Oct. 2012
By 
Flickering Ember "I need a break and I wanna ... (Once Upon A Long Ago.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The acting is simply superb, but with these cast members, I wouldn't expect any less. The depictions of the characters was faithful and realistic. It gave a genuine insight into the gay scene of the period; just how seedy it had to be because it was still illegal. Of course, it also gave a brilliant insight into the story of Joe Orton, which his sister testified to in the extra features. The ending is shocking and gruesome...a truly dramatic and tragic end of a life.

I would definitely recommend this film not only to those with an interest in Joe Orton, but also to those with any interest in the 60s in general.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Prick Up Your Ears [1987] [DVD]
Prick Up Your Ears [1987] [DVD] by Stephen Frears (DVD - 2005)
£5.48
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews