Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. United Kingdom, 1987. Zenith Entertainment, Civilhand, British Screen Productions, Film Four International. Screenplay by Alan Bennett, based on the book by John Lahr. Cinematography by Oliver Stapleton. Produced by Andrew Brown. Music by Stanley Myers. Production Design by Hugo Luczyc-Wyhowski. Costume Design by Bob Ringwood. Film Editing by Mick Audsley. Cannes Film Festival 1987. Golden Globe Awards 1987. Independent Spirit Awards 1987.
Terrific drama about playwright Joe Orton, based on John Lahr’s play of the same name. The film follows Orton (Gary Oldman) from his early days living with his parents to his introduction to London’s many opportunities for sexual encounters. He meets and falls in love with Kenneth Halliwell (Alfred Molina), and the two begin a relationship that begins to tear at Halliwell’s jealousy. Orton never stops tricking in bathhouses and public restrooms, while his professional life eclipses his partner soon enough as well: his plays Loot, What The Butler Saw and the controversial Entertaining Mr. Sloane are huge hits with audiences. Oldman is fantastic as Orton, Molina terrifying as the eventually homicidal Halliwell, and Vanessa Redgrave lends brilliant support as Orton’s agent who narrates the story in present day to biographer Wallace Shawn (playing Lahr).