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Prick Up Your Ears

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LEAD: LIKE John Lahr's 1978 biography of Joe Orton, the English playwright, the screen adaptation of ''Prick Up Your Ears'' comes immediately to the harrowing point: Kenneth Halliwell's hammer-murder of Orton, his lover and friend; his own suicide, and the subsequent discovery of the bodies.

LIKE John Lahr's 1978 biography of Joe Orton, the English playwright, the screen adaptation of ''Prick Up Your Ears'' comes immediately to the harrowing point: Kenneth Halliwell's hammer-murder of Orton, his lover and friend; his own suicide, and the subsequent discovery of the bodies.

Reviews

Prick up your ears - meaning and origin. - Phrase Finder

Prick Up Your Ears does well in the details, especially when it comes to the collage that Halliwell covers their tiny apartment walls with, but the film also of lives that were fascinating and complicated. It also avoids the use of any of Orton’s works, so much so that one can’t help but assume by the middle of the film that the Orton estate must have refused to license works to the film, hindering its production. Whether that’s true or not is unclear; what is clear is that the script relies on some well-placed barbs and one-liners to convey Orton’s wit, but often does this at the expense of context.