Prick Up Your Ears

Retrospective: The Dark Kingdom

August 9, 1967, 25 Noel Road, Islington, London. The rising star playwright, ex-convict of (very inventive) library book defacing, scandalist relishing in provocation and black humor, and new darling of West End Joe Orton is supposed to be picked up by a driver, who will take him to the studio to work with The Beatles on the upcoming film’s screenplay. The door of the tiny flat has to be broken down by the police – 34-year old Orton is lying in the blood-soaked bed with a gaping hole in his skull sustained by numerous hammer blows.  His unstable partner of 15 years, Kenneth Halliwell, took 22 Nembutals after he committed the murder, and was dead before he hit the floor. Pitch-black comedy and tragedy mixed in precise dosages, directed by Stephen Frears, tell the true story of a life daring to be more bizzare, more charming and brutal than any fiction. Young Gary Oldman stars as Orton, Alfred Molina as his lover, muse and doom Halliwell and Vanessa Redgrave as Orton’s fierce agent Peggy Ramsey.


  • United Kingdom / 1987
  • 110 min / DVD PAL
  • English
  • Subtitles: No Subtitle
  • Directors: Stephen Frears
  • Writers: Alan Bennett
  • Cast: Gary Oldman, Vanessa Redgrave , Alfred Molina
  • This film was adopted by: Fringe festival Praha
  • Praha: Tue 13 Nov 2012 / 8:30 pm / Kino Lucerna
  • Brno: Thu 22 Nov 2012 / 7:00 pm / Stadec
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