Prick Up Your Ears Review

Prick Up Your Ears
an exploration of the tragic relationship Joe Orion's wide-eyed provincial youth then lionised playwright and cultivated and educated lover Kenneth Halliwell.

by Patrick Peters |
Published on
Release Date:

01 Jan 1987

Running Time:

110 minutes



Original Title:

Prick Up Your Ears

Scripted by Alan Bennett from John Lahr’s biography of playwright Joe Orton, this is less an insight into the man than a story inspired by his murder by lover Kenneth Halliwell in 1967. Thus Gary Oldman and Alfred Molina rework The Odd Couple as a gay melodrama, in which the older, stuffier Halliwell comes to regret encouraging the amoral Orton to indulge his sexual and literary proclivities.

Director Stephen Frears ably captures dreary pre-Beatles Britain and its timid attitude to non-conformity. However, Orson’s theatrical success is downplayed to retain focus on how his success affected his increasingly alienated mentor. Consequently, the film loses its iconoclastic edge.

A decent snapshot of pre-Beatle Britain, this is much more a fact-based gay melodrama than a trenchant portrait of Joe Orton's life, loves and art.
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