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Prick Up Your Ears

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Product Details

  • Actors: Gary Oldman, Alfred Molina, Vanessa Redgrave, Wallace Shawn, Lindsay Duncan
  • Directors: Stephen Frears
  • Writers: Alan Bennett, John Lahr
  • Producers: Andrew Brown
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 15, 2004
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001V6ZJI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,439 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Prick Up Your Ears" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Gary Oldman (Hannibal) and Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2) star in this stunning true story about a long-term love affair that ends with a shocking murder-suicide. Told in "sizzling flashbacks and forwards" (Elle), this Golden Globe-nominated*, "sharp, pithy, exuberant and unflinching film" (The Hollywood Reporter) from director Stephen Frears (Dirty Pretty Things)and writer Alan Bennett (The Madness of King George) "mesmerizes you, holding you in its thrall" (Los Angeles) from first frame to last. Frustrated writers, co-conspirators, friends and lovers, Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell (Oldman and Molina) serve respectively as protégéand mentor in each other's life until Orton's breakout success heightens Halliwell's sense of his own failure. With the young playwright's every new achievement, Halliwell's diminishing role leads him to a desperate attempt to keep them as equals forever. *1987: Supporting Actress (VanessaRedgrave)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
5 star
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See all 27 customer reviews
Great to see Alfred Molina and Gary Oldman when they were young.
Sharon Goldstein
Given the content of the story, it may seem to some that this is a grisly tale and it might well have been in less capable hands.
Grady Harp
Still, a good film to see if one is interested in the development of human rights for gay men on this planet.
Phillip J. Holmes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 8, 2004
Format: DVD
Stephen Frears continues to deliver extraordinary films (Dirty Pretty Things, The Grifters, Dangerous Liaisons, My Beautiful Launderette, Loving Walter, High Fidelity among others) and returning now to his 1987 PRICK UP YOUR EARS not only shows this excellent film aging well, but now it shows how keenly Frears is able to depict a period in time. Set in the 1960s, Frears bases his story on the biography of Joe Orton (British playwright whose plays included 'Entertaining Mr. Sloane' and 'Loot'). And while many other directors and screenwriters struggle with the format of "interviewing" people who knew the subject versus creating a novel/story based on bits and pieces of fact and fiction, Frears uses both these approaches with consummate skill. Joe (John) Orton (Gary Oldman in a definitive performance) was an openly gay playwright in a period of time in England when being gay was still punishable by imprisonment. His childhood in Leicester is explored (with Julie Walters amazingly fine as his weird mother) as he wishes to become an actor. He moves to London where he becomes involved with one Kenneth Halliwell (Alfred Molina in a tour de force, over the top raging Queen role) and lives in an openly gay, albeit bizarre love/hate relationship. The two struggle to become established as actors and writers, but it is Orton who succeeds, only after a six month prison sentence for 'indecency' during which time he writes his first play. When Orton and Halliwell are released form prison, Orton's star ascends due in part to the wise counsel and friendship of Peggy Ramsey (Vanessa Redgrave in peak form). Halliwell ages (he is eight years Orton's senior), resents Orton's success not only with the theater and money, but with the near daily dalliances in toilets and lurid spaces where he seeks sex.Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "vampilord" on May 16, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
Oscar Wilde put it best: "In this world, there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, the other is getting it." Kenneth Halliwell, the lover and eventual murderer of Joe Orton (the British playwright of several popular comedies in the 60's) was a blueprint for success. However, never a believer in his own talents, he lived from one failure to another while experiencing success through the boy he mentored, educated, financially supported, and trained for world-renowned success. Why this movie is not on DVD, and as it even approaches VHS obscurity staggers the mind. The movie is a thriller, biography, and psychological study of two homosexuals, romantically bankrupt, yet entirely dependant on one another. A classic irony. As Orton's star rises after 16 years of struggling with a man eight years his senior, Halliwell's world and mind crack up all around him. Orton's ignorance of his lover's need to have the relationship as it was before Orton's success, drives Halliwell to destroy the mind that he himself helped create. After the brutal murder of his friend, Halliwell committed suicide with a note affixed to Orton's diary, which recorded the last six months of his life. The movie is based on this diary, as well as memoirs of friends, family, and colleagues. This adult movie spends more time than is requisite about Orton's gay fantasies and promiscuous lifestyle, even involving young boys. This might be an instant turn-off to some viewers, but if you can divorce the lifestyle from the man, you will be captivated by the spell that genius played in the two lives of these interesting people. Both Gary Oldman and Alfred Molina are at their best in this film, bringing a sometimes drifting script to abundant life.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 5, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Although I have not seen an Orton play, or read the Orton diaries compiled and edited by John Lahr; or read Lahr's biographical work on Orton; or seen the West-End play based on the diaries, one thing is clear: Lahr made quite a sum for himself off another man's diaries! The film version of Orton's story brings the ill-fated Orton-Halliwell relationship not only to the screen but to our hearts, even to the hearts of viewers uninitiated/uninterested in British plays or gay sex.Such matters,while present in the movie,take a backseat to the central issue-- namely, the turbulent complexity of human relationships. The movie takes us from the early stages of a mutually beneficial, "body-for-brains" trade-off between young, awkward and talentless Orton, and older, articulate, and caustically witty Halliwell; through Orton's parasitic draining of Halliwell's witticisms and their "refurbishment" into what would eventually be hailed as the "Orton style". The film leads us through Orton's transformation from pussycat to tiger during a stint in prison, his subsequent meteoric rise to the top of West-End playbills as a playwright of sensationalistic,farcical comedies, leading to his emotional abandonment and outshining of his increasingly uptight/neurotic former mentor(whose chronic lack of social skills is played brilliantly here).Read more ›
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