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Prick Up Your Ears Special Edition [DVD]

4.3 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Gary Oldman, Alfred Molina, Vanessa Redgrave, Julie Walters, Wallace Shawn
  • Directors: Stephen Frears
  • Producers: Andrew Brown
  • Format: PAL
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: ITV Studios Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Sept. 2007
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000S3990Q
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,344 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

The life story of controversial 1960s playwright Joe Orton (Gary Oldman), revealed in flashback after his murder by lover Kenneth Halliwell (Alfred Molina). Born in Leicester, Orton moves to London and enjoys an openly gay relationship with Halliwell in their famous Islington flat. However, when Orton achieves spectacular success with such plays as 'What the Butler Saw' and 'Loot', Halliwell begins to feel alienated and the pair's future looks increasingly uncertain.

From Amazon.co.uk

Based on John Lahr's biography of the same name and co-written by Alan Bennett, Prick Up Your Ears charts the 16-year relationship between the monstrously talented but deeply selfish playwright Joe Orton (Gary Oldman), author of West End farces such as Loot and What the Butler Saw, and his neurotic but nevertheless wronged lover and collaborator Kenneth Halliwell (Alfred Molina). Halliwell introduced Orton to art, literature and gay sex only to see his protégeacute; outstrip his mentor with innate and rampant talent for sexual conquest. By turns hilarious and excoriatingly painful, it's as much a tribute to an anti-hero of our times-Orton's ruthless frankness and anarchic mindset helped form the basis of what's called the "queer" sensibility today--as it is a portrait of the Swinging 60s just after the reform of anti-homosexuality laws irrevocably changed society. The modern-day framing device has Lahr (Wallace Shawn) researching his book through interviews with Peggy Ramsay (Vanessa Redgrave), Orton's agent and the diary he wrote, a nimble device which ends up drawing a provocative parallel between Orton and Halliwell's relationship and that of Lahr and his wife (Lindsay Duncan). Director Stephen Frears, fresh off the back of the also-gay-themed My Beautiful Laundrette, nimbly balances our sympathies for both the protagonists while the leads give what may in retrospect look like the standout performances of their careers: Oldman was never more feral and charming, while Molina, foppishingly fretting over his wig and decrying that his lover "even sleeps better than I do" is simply heartbreaking. --Leslie Felperin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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.
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Became my favourite film for some time until I read the end of Orton's diaries. Haven't watched it since but I will again because Oldman and Molina are absolutely brilliant. The arrogance of Joe oozes from every pore of Oldman's portrayal. And Halliwell's move from intellectually and emotionally superior into his descent into neediness, madness and, I would say 'paranoia' but I think his worries (not his actions) were quite justified by Joe's behaviour, is absolutely heart-wrenching. And I never turn down a chance to see Julie Walters in anything, even for a few minutes.
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By A Customer on 14 Mar. 2000
Format: VHS Tape
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.
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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.
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Format: 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 ...
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