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Prick Up Your Ears (UK)

Prick up your Ears is full of cheeky British humor and has enough pricks going up rears (if you know what I mean). My third British gay film in a row and one thing I realized while watching this film is how vastly different the British gay films are compared to the American counterparts. Another drama which is based on true real life characters, it amazes me how comfortable Britishers are with these subject sand their open-ness to make movies on these characters. The film is based on the true story of Joe Orton (British playwright whose plays included 'Entertaining Mr. Sloane' and 'Loot'). Joe Orton 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 as he wishes to become an actor. He moves to London where he becomes involved with one Kenneth Halliwell and lives in an openly gay, albeit bizarre love/hate relationship. Orton loves the dangers of bath-houses and liaisons in public restrooms; Halliwell, not as charming or attractive as Orton, doesn't fare so well in those environs. While both long to become writers, it is Orton who achieves fame, 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, his agent. The film continues to focus on the relationship of Orton and Halliwell and how they can't stand each other any more. Plus the fact that Halliwell was getting more and more psychotic about growing popularity of Orton. This ends up in a tragic end where Halliwell ends up killing Orton one night with a hammer and then later committing suicide. By the time the film ends, you have nothing but appreciation for the actors, the story and the director for daring to do something so good and different. Both the actors are mainstream but did such a marvelous job, specially Halliwel as over jealous over the top drama queen. The interplay between Orton and Halliwell is key; their's is an imbalanced relationship, but even if Orton leaves Halliwell emotionally devastated, they are too close after 16 years together to separate. There were no moments of boredom. The way the story was interwoven with interviews being taken, Orton's notes being read etc. made it all very very enjoyable and kept the viewers hooked. I would definitely recommend this movie for this is one of those good pieces of cinema. (7/10)


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