Prick Up Your Ears
Dear, oh, dear. Somebody here has been playing silly buggers.
You look ill. They have some brandy in the kitchen.
I won't keep you a moment.
- I can't find his diaries. - You can't find them?
- It's 20 years ago. - But they'd be so valuable.
Yes, I don't like to think what they'd be worth.
For a biographer.
Tess is so disorganized.
- Oh, dear. - Don't worry.
I can't stand those things.
Every little word. One can't possibly be natural.
- Is it on? - Yes.
I knew nothing at all about him the first time he walked in.
When was that? My God, 1964.
He had considerable confidence and charm.
It was his first play, a radio thing. I thought it was derivative.
I told him so. He didn't mind.
I thought it was derivative.
I told him so. He didn't mind.
Not Joe. "I'll try and write you a better one," he said.
I said, "Well, that would be gorgeous."
As he was leaving...
he said, "Next time, can I bring my friend?"
And I thought, does he mean "friend"?
Then I thought, yes, he does mean "friend."
Which was quite bold in those days.
It was the Dark Ages. Men and men.
And they could still put you in prison for it.
And they did, dear.
No, keep your socks on.
London was still quite exciting then. Remember that?
No, you wouldn't.
- This is when? - 1967.
- You're in good shape. - It's the weights.
When I die, I want people to say:
"He was the most perfectly developed playwright of his day."
Joe was having a wonderful time.
His second play, Loot, was a smash hit.
- So he was making lots of money? - Oh, yes, dear.
Offers to do this and write that.
And he had six months to live.
Is that it?
Is that my present?
- It is terrible, darling. - It was £14.
I thought you said splash out.
Cheap clothes suit me. They always have.
It's because I'm from the gutter.
- A contract from New Zealand. - New Zealand?
I know, but we won't think about it, dear.
Am I right in thinking we're still interested in writing the Beatles script?
Why don't I call Brian now and set up a meeting?
Is it "Epstein"...
Americans are so sensitive about their names.
He's not American, is he?
Well, he moves in that world.
We'll see each other later?
I hope people come.
They will. I put out a three-line whip.
- Thank you. - How is he?
It's only £14. Peggy hates it.
- That's where you've been. - She likes you.
Peggy's one of your few fans.
- Any calls? - I've been worried stiff.
Why? It doesn't start till 9:00.
The whole point about irrational behavior is that it is irrational.
I don't worry about any thing. I just worry.
- Stop that. - And you stop being such a bilious queen.
I've to be there by 8:00 to check the arrangements.
- I'm frightened nobody will come. - They'll come.
"And what sort of day have you had, Kenneth?"
Well, not unproductive, Joe, actually. I caught up on a big backlog of dusting.
Then I went down the road to replenish our stock of corn flakes.
When I returned, I rinsed a selection of your soiled underclothes...
by which time it was 4:00, the hour of your scheduled return.
When you failed to come, I redeemed the shining hour by cutting my toenails.
What did you expect me to do? Shag the Dimplex?
You can still be quite funny.
Have you been reading my diary?
- No. - Why not?
- They lived in Islington. - Isn't that quite fashionable?
Not then, dear.
Hardly. It was a cupboard.
- Can we go past the theater? - Oh, no, I knew you'd say that. I knew.
This is supposed to be my night!
Actually, I just want to get out of this fucking room.
- I'd better have my Valium now. - Give us a couple.
Name in the paper again last night.
Mrs. Sugden says you're halfway to being a household word.
Kenneth looks smart.
Don't look at me. I'm not washed.
Going out to supper.
It's one function after another.
They've got the world at their feet.
When I was hanging them, I kept thinking Schwitters.
Not entirely. You see, when I first started...
- It would be in a cellar. - Shut up. This is our be-kind-to-Kenny day.
- The avalanche begins. - We came together.
Always the best way.
- Hello. - Well, Kenneth, your big day.
- Joe, how are you? - Where are these pictures?
- Nice of you to come. - We girls must stick together.
I had a friend once in soft furnishings.
The number of times I trailed around the Ideal Home Exhibition...
I've had an invitation to the Lord Mayor of London.
It's a banquet for those eminent in the arts and sciences.
It's because I've sold the film rights to Loot.
I'm as rich as them, so I'm invited to their rubbishy dinner.
Joe, I believe they give you some excellent turtle soup.
Who's paying for all this?
Success! Our first sale.
Peggy's bought my Cat Screen.
And I've almost sold another.
- You've no need to. - I like it.
And you've no need to, either. You don't owe him anything.
You must leave him, Joe. You've got to.
No, I couldn't.
And was he going to leave him?
No shortage of offers.
I don't know.
Could he have left him?
You're married. How can you tell?
What for? Sex?
I suppose that's where they learnt it. Therapy.
- And what do you do? - I'm the artist.
Well, they're very unusual.
Seems to be going well.
Have we sold any more?
No, but I'm getting lots of enthusiasm.
- Isn't that Joe Orton? - Yes.
I loved Loot!
The title was mine, actually.
I gave him all his titles. I'm his personal assistant.
I don't care for these at all.
And what does that entail?
It entails washing his underwear. It entails taking his jumpers to Sketchley's.
It entails poaching his fucking eggs.
And it entails reading his manuscripts...
only to find everything I've thought or said is included.
That must be very rewarding.
If you're referring to the occasional bout of mutual masturbation...
no, it is not rewarding at all!
I really do love my Screen.
"How do you justify your existence?"
"I'm Joe Orton's friend." As if it's a profession.
Well, it's not a profession.
It's a fucking full-time job.
It's not a profession.
Was this customary?
Oh, yes. According to the diary, practically a daily occurrence.
But you lost his diary.
No, I haven't seen him.
I thought he left with you.
No, Kenneth, of course I wanted it. I wouldn't have bought it if I hadn't.
I shall have it here, in my office.
Yes, if he rings, I'll tell him.
Then he did the same for me.
Shall we eat? I'm starving.
I write it all down, all the sex. It's all in my diaries.
How did he know you were here?
You do, don't you?
In that state.
You know everything.
I brought the melon.
You found us.
I just got here myself.
This is my wife, Anthea. Ms. Ramsay.
I think it is perhaps Peggy.
We're working on the book together.
Why don't you get Ms. Ramsay a drink? White wine?
White wine. You're not American.
No, he is.
John's American. He is, I'm not.
Yes, I think I have just about got that straight.
We're working on the book together.
These are the diaries.
You must guard them with your life.
We can eat.
Urinals figure largely, of course.
The more insalubrious the circumstances, the more Joe seemed to enjoy it.
His first taste of sex, or the first that he records...
took place in a cinema lavatory in Leicester at the age of 14.
The film was My Favorite Brunette.
Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour.
Joe says he came all down the man's raincoat.
I'll set Anthea to work transcribing these, and then you can have the originals back.
Do you type?
It's tiresome, but sometime we are going to have to talk about a fee.
- I do have Joe's relatives to think about. - Of course.
He's all they have.
What is this?
This is the film script he was writing for the Beatles that final summer.
I'm about to get Brian Epstein on the phone.
When do you think we could set up a meeting?
Not there, Ms. Ramsay. On the Coast.
When you say he's on the Coast, dear, do you mean he's in Brighton?
When he gets back and has shaken the sand out of his shoes...
perhaps you could get him to call me.
I've started on the script for the Beatles.
I'm using some of a novel I wrote years ago.
I'm surprised how good it is.
You didn't write that. We wrote it.
So what were you planning on doing? Selling it to Warner Brothers?
I wouldn't care, if you gave me some credit.
If you only told people I helped you.
- Tell the Beatles I help you. - You're not being much help now.
- Have you nothing to do? - You do it!
Try a spot of post-coital dusting yourself. It always has to be me.
It's the police. It's one of your pickups.
Your sex life has caught up with you. Now you're going to have to pay.
I thought you might like a preview of my frock.
It's for the firm's annual get-together in a month or two's time.
The actual venue is not definite yet...
but it's thought to be one of the leading London hotels.
There's been some dispute about the design.
It's a floral motif, obviously, all hand-done.
Only, I say these are roses.
And Mr. Sugden will insist they're peonies.
This could be a lily.
- Looks more of a rhododendron to me. - That's a thought.
I'll go try that one out on Clifford.
Do you notice I'm limping? Spilled a hot drink down my dress.
My vagina came up like a football.
If you were successful...
so successful that you couldn't walk down the street...
what would you do? I'm thinking of the Beatles.
I'd have a home.
In the country. With servants.
I'd just shag everything in sight.
Have a wank.
I can't just have a wank.
I need three days' notice to have a wank!
You can just stand there and do it.
Me, it's like organizing D-day.
Forces have to be assembled, magazines bought...
the past dredged for some suitably unsavory episode...
the dogged thought of which can still produce a faint flicker of desire.
"Have a wank."
Lt'd be easier to raise the Titanic.
- And don't write it down. - It's only my diary.
- Do you read it? - I've told you, no.
My mom did. I used to have to put the dirty bits in shorthand.
Only time it's been of any use.
I'm sorry, I can't help you.
My secretary does shorthand, but I'm on my own here.
Well, dear, you'll just have to use your imagination.
Mother, didn't you once do shorthand?
Yes, for about five minutes.
It's this playwright John's working on.
He went to secretarial school as a boy and took shorthand.
This is his diary.
He keeps going into shorthand, you see.
It was a long time ago, dear. I never got the diploma.
"Woke up late. Did not go to school. Told Mom I felt sick.
"When she'd gone to work, I listened to Housewives' Choice."
"Then went into Mom's bedroom...
"and arranged the dressing table mirrors...
"and had a lovely, long, slow...
"Wink." You sure that's an "i"?
No, dear, I'm not sure at all.
"Read all morning...
"but got another hard-on.
"Just putting soap on it when Mom came in.
"Said I thought I had a spot coming.
"Mom quiet all through meal." I should think so.
Does he go on like this?
No, the early ones stopped just when his life got interesting.
Sounds quite interesting already.
- Where's John? - He's gone to Leicester to see the sister.
To look at the house where Joe was brought up.
Was this the Orton house?
Is this the...
- I'm English. Ask me. - Was this the house that Orton...
I hated that house.
There was no love in it.
No wonder he couldn't wait to get out.
In those days, if you were from Leicester and wanted to be an actor...
you had to get rid of your accent.
Not that Mom knew anything about the acting.
- She just wanted John to talk posh. - You still call him John.
That was his name when we were little. It was after he was famous, he was Joe.
- Mrs. Lambert? - Madame Lambert.
- You are anxious to improve your diction? - Yes, Madame Lambert.
What is your chosen field?
- I want to be an actor. - Indeed.
Leicester has produced some fine actors.
Leicester is the hometown of Richard Attenborough.
Movement, elocution, all these I can teach you.
The arts proper to the stage.
How to smoke a cigarette with poise, elegance...
and, above all, conviction.
The powder compact as a means of expression.
Go to any production in the West End...
and you will see these arts brought to a pitch of perfection.
But all that is as nothing...
without the one essential requirement.
- I have the money. - Money? Pish!
I'm not speaking of money. I'm speaking of talent.
Judging by what you've read, you have no talent.
No talent whatsoever.
- I still want to learn. - Bravo!
No marks for talent. Full marks for Dunkirk spirit.
Mom didn't have much of a horizon.
She'd have liked him a civil servant. A suit every day of his life.
Next time, tell them to provide you with a costume!
Using our bedspread. Wicked!
You'll clean it!
Coloring it with distemper.
Ruined, bloody ruined.
I bet Dirk Bogarde didn't distemper his mother's bedspread!
And get some clothes on.
Walking around like Sambo. Don't know where to look.
There's somebody at the door. Fetch us me teeth.
It'll be the gas man. I never paid.
I'm a Council official. I've come about your lad.
Why? What's he done? What have you done?
Shakespeare's what he's done. He's taken a very good part.
He's favorably impressed a prominent member of the Education Committee.
Yes, he'd have a bedspread.
- Who's this? - This is my husband. Ignore him.
- Your son is a born actor. - An actor?
But he went to Clark's College. He's done shorthand.
- He had a badge in his blazer. - This boy will never make a typist.
- He can do 40 words a minute. - Shut up!
No, he must take up a dramatic career.
But I've sacrificed all down the line in order for him to land a job in an office.
No, Mrs. Orton, your son must go in for a scholarship to RADA.
- RADA? - The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
"Do you know who I'm looking for, Smee?"
"No, tell me again, Captain."
"I'm looking for a boy, Smee."
"What kind of boy, Captain?"
"A wicked boy. A heartless boy.
"A boy who never ate his rice pudding."
"Oh, horror! Can there be such boys?"
"Aye, there can.
"It was a boy like that that cut off my arm...
"and fed it to the crocodiles.
"was Peter Pan."
You've had some amateur experience, I gather, Mr. Orton.
Tell us about it.
I started off in Richard III.
That was most original. You've done very well.
Yes, very nice and loud.
"O, that this too too solid flesh would melt...
- "thaw and resolve itself into a dew!" - Rather old.
- "Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd..." - Not as old as he looks.
"...his canon 'gainst self-slaughter!"
It's useful to have somebody as old as that.
Just for casting.
We seem to be taking practically anything that stands up.
At least he's got the coat.
- What are you? - Cats, miss.
Let's change the exercise slightly.
I've got a cat now.
Here you are. Catch it.
Movement, enunciation, breath control.
It's all so wildly dated, don't you agree?
- Yes, it is. - Still, I suppose the beginners find it useful.
- Are you new to London? - Hardly.
A small legacy enabled me to spend several weekends at the Strand Palace.
- Hotels are a closed book to me. - You'll like the Strand Palace.
Perhaps we might venture there one evening for coffee.
We're off over to South Bank. The festival.
Yes, it might be amusing, I suppose.
Yes, the plebs and their simple pleasures.
What did you ask him for?
"Let us go then, you and I...
"when the evening is spread out against the sky...
"like a patient etherised upon a table."
You know, some of these people are...
- having sexual intercourse. - Fucking, you mean.
What did you expect? Many of them are from Australia.
What was the Festival of Britain?
That was when it all came off the ration.
You mean food and things?
Life, dear. Sex. Everything.
Only it didn't, of course.
I wish he'd never come. I wanted it to be just us.
- No. - Why?
- Not here. People are looking. - Fuck people.
You can't live like that, John.
- I want to take things gradually. - I don't.
You don't know what life's like.
I'm not going to find out at this rate, either.
- Thank you. - Cheap clothes suit you.
It's because you're from the gutter.
I said I'll move in with Janet.
This is the room.
I'm only looking. I'm fixed up elsewhere.
Is it a northern light?
Never heard any complaints.
Of course, it's in dire need of decorating.
What is that smell?
Air freshener. The carpet came from Reading originally.
Friends, are you?
- Students. - I've nothing against friendship.
It's the most wonderful thing in the world, within reason.
I'm only looking.
- They say Islington's coming up. - It is.
They've turned the greengrocer's into an antique shop, and the pub is silent.
What do you think?
I think I shall keep an open mind.
Help yourself. Here.
- Where did you get them? - I nicked them while he wasn't looking.
- You can type? - Forty words a minute.
- Neither of us seems to have family photos. - I'm an orphan.
I always wanted to be an orphan.
I could have been if it hadn't been for my parents.
My mother died when I was a boy.
She was stung on the tongue by a wasp.
One minute we were just sitting down to breakfast...
ten minutes later, she was dead.
- That still leaves your dad. - Him?
He put his head in the gas oven when I was 18.
I came down one morning and found him lying there.
So I switched the gas off, had a shave...
made some tea, and called the ambulance. In that order.
I understand. My dad always took a back seat.
Anybody can act.
All these books. I'll never catch up.
I'm a cultivated person, John. You'll find it rubs off.
- Can you spell? - Yes, but not accurately.
- I don't understand Shakespeare. - We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Talking of Shakespeare, we're missing the Queen.
I here present unto you Queen Elizabeth...
your undoubted Queen.
Improves the contrast.
Wherefore all you who are come this day...
to do your homage and service...
are you willing to do the same?
This is a new experience for me.
I've never seen it before.
... to govern the peoples of the United Kingdom...
Do you like it?
... the other territories according to their respective laws and customs?
I solemnly promise so to do.
It's the beginning of a new era.
Thence goes Queen Elizabeth to sit in King Edward's Chair...
for the most sacred rite of her anointing.
Are you up here helping John?
Holding his hand.
Did Kenneth ever come up to Leicester?
Did you like him?
I didn't dislike him.
I could see what he saw in Joe, after all.
I couldn't really see what Joe saw in him.
Of course, I didn't know what went on.
Upstairs, come on.
Did you know that Joe was that way?
- Yes. - You didn't.
I did and I didn't.
The way you do, don't you?
Mind you, at our Douglas' wedding, Mom found him in bed with a bridesmaid.
So you see? It's as I say.
He couldn't have learned it in Leicester.
He was corrupted.
Joe wanted something from Kenneth.
And Kenneth wanted something from Joe. It's not corruption.
He was born that way, or else it was my mom.
Women don't care anyway.
- I don't care what men get up to. - I don't care where they put it.
As long as they don't put it there.
Didn't I say upstairs?
A taste of their own medicine.
The lavatories shocked me a bit when I read his diary, but...
A boy stopped me the other day...
and said, "I want to thank you for your brother's plays." So what do you do?
Yes, I feel quite grateful for his plays myself.
Personally, I think a lot of that is made up.
- What? - The toilets.
You have to go into all that, do you?
It all seems a bit unnecessary to me.
The lawn mower is not unnecessary. The Fiesta is not unnecessary.
You ought to be grateful we get money from his plays.
Grateful? I work, too, you know.
This isn't royalties. This is plumbing money, this is.
He's nothing in Leicester, Joe Orton.
- Ken? - What?
You know you could be put in prison for this.
So could you.
I'm the innocent party.
No, I want to get on.
Writing, John, is one-tenth inspiration, nine-tenths...
That's a library book. You should respect books.
I respect them more than you. You just take them for granted.
Shit, I'll never catch up.
So what's this? We are halfway through a novel.
You are, you mean.
It's a collaboration, dear.
We've written it together.
- Stop it, I'm reading. - You're not.
- Test me, then. - What on?
Who is the father of Oedipus?
- Laius. - Who is his mother?
Fuck his mother.
I've shown it to one or two...
- and we laughed. - You're kidding.
We had a real chuckle.
The trouble is that normal sex...
is still a novelty for most people...
in book form.
A book such as yours...
- which very wittily... - We thought it was witty.
...explores the byways of sexuality...
is ahead of its time.
We are a very conservative firm.
Isn't one of the directors T.S. Eliot?
Yes, that's right.
Is he in the building?
Thursday. Yes, he is.
Fancy, John, we're under the same roof as T.S. Eliot.
He wants to know which is his chair.
Yes, well, thank you very much for letting us see this.
You can keep it a little longer if you want. Show it to a few more friends.
Thank you, no.
And remember, next time you see Mr. Eliot...
tell him he has two devoted fans in Islington...
who think The Waste Land is a real knockout.
At least you can say you sat in the same chair as T.S. Eliot.
Yes, I'm never gonna wipe my bum again.
Why did you leave all the talking to me? It's your book as much as mine.
I'm shy. It's not my territory.
This is dead-center me.
- He heard that. - So what?
Now you're shy.
This is Mr. Halliwell.
Doesn't knock on my box one bit.
He's got a big one.
- How do you know? - It's written all over his face.
- Look at the package on that. - Where?
- We're on. - I didn't see anything. What did he do?
What do you want, a telegram? Come on!
He's built like a brick shithouse.
- He's probably a policeman. - Yes, I know. Isn't he wonderful?
We've got tickets for the Proms.
All right. What's your name?
- What do you mean, what's my name? - Mine's Kevin.
- That's a poncey name. - Patrick, then.
Catholic, are you? What do you do?
- I don't know. What do you do? - I'm a fitter, car components.
I'm a dog handler.
On an individual basis, or are you a tool of a large organization?
I'm so shit scared, I don't know if I'll be able to do anything.
We don't want to let this make us late for the Proms.
Listen, sweetheart, which do you prefer?
Him or Sir Malcolm Sargent?
Hello. My name's Kevin.
- Mine's Kenneth. - Mine's Kenneth, too.
- Shit. - Only, my friends call me Patrick.
We're all friends here.
Do you kiss?
I don't think he likes me.
You like him, don't you?
And so, 10 years passed.
- Not like that. - No, silly, not like that.
Nothing happened. Looking back on it, I suppose it was some kind of preparation.
An education, maybe.
Well, if it seemed like that to Joe, it can't have done to Ken.
- No. - His hair was falling out.
God, I know the feeling.
And whereas he'd stopped writing, Joe had started.
Still, they were both failures, so it didn't matter.
- It didn't matter yet. - Quite.
You want rice pudding with the sardines or separate?
Mozart was dead by the time he was my age.
- I'm not even young anymore. - What about me?
You never were.
I can't see how we are ever going to make our mark...
defacing library books.
- You didn't tell me one of them was a nancy. - I'm sorry, Mr. Cunliffe?
The bald one, Miss Batersby.
A homosexual. A shirtlifter.
- In Islington? - Haven't you noticed?
Large areas of the borough are being restored...
and painted Thames green.
This calls for a little detective work, Miss Batersby.
"Fucked by Monty." Indeed!
Men died! Died!
The above-mentioned vehicle...
appears to be derelict and abandoned...
in Noel Road...
and I have been given to understand...
you are the owner thereof.
"But before enforcing remedies...
"I give you the opportunity to remove the vehicle from the highway."
The little prick.
Unzip our trusty Remington, John.
We will piss on this person from a great height.
"Humber Hawk" indeed.
Dear sir, thank you for your dreary little letter...
- "Dismal" is better. - "Dismal," then.
I should like to know...
who provided you with this mysterious information.
"Furnished" is better than "provided." It's more municipal in tone.
You will note the typing, Miss Batersby, is the same.
Our book jacket...
Got you, my beauties.
This is the novel Clouds of Witness by the noted authoress Dorothy L. Sayers.
Could you read what the accused have written on the flap of the jacket?
"When little Betty McDree says she has been interfered with...
"her mother first laughs.
"'Lt is only something the kitty has picked up off the television.'
"But when sorting through the laundry...
"Mrs. McDree discovers a new pair of knickers are missing...
"she thinks again.
"Her mother takes little Betty to the police station...
"where to everyone's surprise...
"she identifies P.C. Brecken-Coolidge as her attacker.
"A search is made of the women's police barracks.
"What is found there is a seven-inch phallus...
"and a pair of knickers of the type used by Betty.
"All looks black for kindly P.C. Coolidge.
"This is one of the most enthralling stories ever written by Miss Sayers.
"Read it behind closed doors...
"and have a good shit while you're reading it."
The probation officer has suggested that you are both frustrated authors.
If you are so clever at making fun...
of what more talented people have written...
you should have a shot at writing books yourselves.
You won't find that such a pushover.
Sheer malice and destruction, the pair of you.
I sentence you both to six months.
- Fucking A. - It was your idea.
But I'm the youngest.
Prison worked wonders for Joe.
And being a man, of course...
he made out it was much more of an ordeal than in fact it was.
- Where did he go? - Brixton, for about five minutes...
then one of those open places in Sussex.
Quite near my health farm, actually, and with much the same effect.
Though at rather less expense.
And at my place you don't get psychiatry.
What about your parents?
Dead. Both of them.
When I was a little kiddie.
I'm an orphan.
The guy I share a room with...
he cracks on he's the orphan.
Don't you believe him.
He reckons he got up one morning...
and found his dad with his head in the gas oven.
Didn't even call the ambulance.
How is he, by the way?
That was your mother.
Tell me about your father.
There's nothing to tell. I was 18...
I came down one morning and found him with his head in the gas oven.
You called the ambulance, naturally?
I made a cup of tea first.
He was quite plainly dead.
- You weren't fond of him. - Not particularly.
You're fond of your roommate.
We're everything to one another.
Sleep together, do you?
but we have sex.
Are you sure?
You don't mean you want to have sex?
No, we do.
But your friend's not like that, is he? He's married, he's got a child.
So you're surprised, are you?
This may come as a shock to you...
but I suspect your friend...
may be homosexual.
And there I am, sleeping in the same room with him.
You mentioned your wife. Where is she now?
The last I heard, she'd taken the kid to Lyme Regis.
Try and team up with them again.
Make a fresh start.
Don't you worry.
Not too Spartan, is it?
On the contrary, a room of one's own.
Prison gives a writer credentials.
Everyone else, it takes them away.
It was the first time in 10 years they'd been split up.
- So prison was a taste of freedom. - For Joe.
When did you do this?
- I haven't seen this. - It's a radio play.
I did it on my own in prison.
- I've sent it to the BBC. - Why didn't you tell me?
I could help you write a proper letter. You'll never hear back.
I already have.
"We had a little room...
"and our life was made quite comfortable by the National Assistance Board.
"We had a lot of friends of all creeds and colors...
"and no circumstances at all.
"We were happy enough.
"We were young."
"I was 17 and he was 23.
"You can't do better for yourself than that, can you?
"We were bosom friends."
- "I hope I haven't shocked you." - "As close as that?"
"We had separate beds."
"He was a stickler for appearances.
"But we spent every night in each other's company.
"It was the reason we never got any work done.
"I used to base my life around him."
- "Don't often get that, do you?" - "No."
"He had personality."
Could we make that line read "stickler for convention"?
"His mentality wasn't fully developed.
"He was bound to make good sooner or later."
I knew nothing about him when he walked in.
- Hello. - Hello, dear.
I thought the radio play was derivative. I said so.
- Did he mind? - Not at all.
I'm writing a better one for the stage.
Mr. Orton, that would be gorgeous.
Would it be rude to inquire how you're managing to live?
National Assistance, £3.10 a week.
I'm afraid I've just come out of jail.
The papers will love all that.
This is what we call an advance.
It means that when you finish the new play you're writing...
the one that's going to be better...
you bring it along and show me.
Don't like that.
Sounds too much like John Osborne.
Are you attached to John as a name?
Try to think of another one, dear.
Next time I come...
can I bring my friend?
Right around the back, and when you hit the middle of the sofa, lunge.
- Is that better, Joe? - Fine.
- Is the view better for you? - It's better for me.
Except, it's not our play.
You're making it into a cheap sex farce. That's not what we wrote.
- Ken thinks... - You wrote this play, I'm directing it.
I don't give a damn what this refugee from a secondhand clothes shop thinks.
I will not have him in rehearsal. It fucks up the actors.
- He's a friend. - After all, it's your play.
It is your play, isn't it?
You just want to be liked.
That's your trouble.
Am I 25 or 26?
For publicity purposes.
Peggy's been pestering me for some undisputed facts.
Why not tell the truth? 31, "Joe."
I can't put 31.
I don't look 31.
Besides, 31 is a well-known bus.
Married or single?
I've dedicated it to you.
What more do you want?
Did you put my full name?
Or just Kenneth?
I'll put your phone number, too, if you want.
You're not ashamed of me?
Hair loss is often thought of as a sign of sexual potency.
Does your experience bear that out?
More people wear wigs than is commonly realized.
Trades union leaders...
members of the royal family.
It's better than the beret.
Shall we keep it on?
Yes, I think so.
I shall wear it to our first night.
It'll be £70.
This is on me.
And this is on me.
I'm not calling you "Joe." You sound like rough trade.
To me, you're John. You'll always be John.
For Ken and Joe...
I just want to see if it works.
I'm going to end up like you.
You got the time?
Not right now.
You see the fellow in the wig?
He's wanting it, ask him.
Got a match?
- What? - A light.
- I'm afraid I haven't. - Pity.
I was thinking of popping in for a Jimmy Riddle.
- It really works. - Go on, get in there.
- Do you want me to come? - No.
They are called cottages, you know. Gentlemen's lavs.
In the States, it's tearooms.
In England, tearooms are something quite different.
So are cottages.
Have you ever seen anything going on?
You don't want it stuck up your ass, by any chance?
If you mean what I think you mean...
No harm in asking.
We were just having a chat.
- The police! Out! Quick! - Jesus.
My second play, Loot, is a bigger hit than my first.
It's also a better play, and it is the critics' choice.
Best play of the year.
The film rights have been sold for a record figure.
Currently I am working on a screenplay for four boys...
who are nudging Jesus Christ...
for position of number one most famous person ever.
But have I ever met these fabled creatures?
Have I ever met their manager, Ms. Brian Epstein...
and have I been paid?
No. Then why am I doing it?
I'm going to jack it in, Beatles or no Beatles.
What I would like to do at this moment...
would be to ease down their Liverpudlian underpants...
and ram my Remington up their arses.
The lovable mop-heads.
- What about me? - What about you?
I can't remember when you last touched my cock.
I can, actually.
It was about two years ago.
Only, I can't remember the actual date.
I could have put it in my diary.
"The last time Joe touched my cock.
"Grouse shooting begins."
Maybe we should go away.
Somewhere where there is plenty of sex. And I don't mean Southport.
Somewhere even you might be happy.
What do you think?
I don't want to go away.
I just want to go to the awards.
I could! Look, "Joe Orton and guest."
I'd behave. I wouldn't say a word, I promise.
- No. - Why?
- Because it's for me. I wrote it. - I gave you the title.
Okay, so when they have awards for titles, you can go to that.
No, this is Mr. Orton's personal assistant.
No, he's tied up at the moment.
Paul McCartney's calling to see you.
He's on his way now.
- Here? - Yeah.
- Was that him? - No, no.
Someone more cultured. The chauffeur, I think.
- Did you tell him the address? - He knew the address.
I wish I'd known. This place is like a pigsty.
He won't mind. He's used to it.
He's an ordinary working-class boy. They all are.
He's the nicest, though. I've always liked him.
The others are more instinctive.
I won't sulk. Just introduce me.
Say who I am, then I'll make myself scarce.
This is what it must be like when one is about to meet the Queen.
Except, when one meets the Queen...
one normally hasn't threatened to ram one's typewriter up her ass.
I'm his personal assistant.
He's waiting for you in the car.
- That was Paul McCartney. - Was it?
Kenneth, you are going to have some memories.
So Ken didn't get to the awards ceremony, and I did.
I give you the award on behalf of the Metropolitan Police...
At moments of triumph, men can do without their wives.
They cramp our style.
- But sharing is what wives want. - Right.
And Ken was a coach as well as a wife.
Still, it was a popular win.
Joe was young, the play was naughty. It all seemed very bold.
My plays are about getting away with it...
and the ones who get away with it are the guilty.
It's the innocents who get it in the neck.
But that all seems pretty true to life to me.
Not a fantasy at all.
I've got away with it so far...
and I'm going to go on.
- Shall I drop you? - Actually, the 24 is handier.
- Why, where are you going? - Just going on somewhere.
- Congratulations again. - Thank you.
What did you say?
- Did you say anything? - Nothing.
You know me.
You should pack.
- Do you read my diary? - No.
Maybe you'd like me a bit less.
Should I take my typewriter?
- No, this is a holiday. - Oh, just in case.
Which one do you want? Abbott or Costello?
I don't mind.
Which one do you think likes me?
I'm not sure liking comes into it.
I'm not sure liking comes into it.
So your sister's husband works in Epsom?
In a hotel?
Epsom's in Surrey...
And to think there's another two coming round at 7:00.
My life's beginning to run to a timetable...
that no member of the royal family would tolerate.
- I'm improving. - You are.
Having it sucked regularly is turning you back into a human being.
Who is this? No one knows we're here.
I gave the Beatles' office the number. Just in case.
It's Brian Epstein.
I was very impressed with your screenplay, Joe.
But some areas I'm not sure I've understood correctly...
and perhaps you could talk me through those?
The Beatles are all pursuing the same girl, right?
Knowing the boys as I do, I would say that was...
it's on Page 53...
Scene 86, when we definitely seem to kiss reality goodbye.
Cut to the boys in bed with Susan.
One of them is smoking a joint. He passes it around.
Two points there, Joe. One, these boys do not take drugs.
They never have taken drugs and they never will take drugs.
It's only a joint.
Second point. If the boys are all in bed with Susan...
this means, as I understand it, that they are all in bed with each other.
No, no, no.
Why? Because these are normal, healthy boys.
I take it they all sleep together.
They do not.
But they're all very pretty.
I imagined they just had a good time.
Sang, smoked, fucked everything in sight, including each other.
I thought that was what success meant.
Mr. Orton, success means...
It means a respect for the public.
Besides, one of the boys is happily married.
I'm sorry, Mr. Orton.
I hope you're having a pleasant vacation.
Why do you have to work?
I am enjoying myself.
- Listen to this. - Not now. I don't want to.
We'll get enough of this when we get back to London.
When we get back, we're finished. This is the end.
Why don't you add, "I'm going back to Mother"?
That's the kind of line that makes your plays ultimately worthless.
He's waiting to be paid.
Actually, he's rather sweet.
I think I'll retire.
Lick my wounds...
or have them licked for me.
You might at least open a window. The place stinks.
Peggy sold the Beatles script to someone else.
I get paid twice over, apparently.
The Observer would like to interview me.
The Observer would like to interview me.
And Vogue wonders if I'd be interested in modeling some clothes.
So much for the holiday.
- What? - I take you away for four weeks...
you come back, still the same jealous bitch as before.
Have you got them out? Yes, you have. I know you, come on.
Come on, do your act.
- No! - Come on, do your act.
How many is it, the fatal dose?
Twelve, is it?
Here you are. Fetch.
And another. Yeah, and another.
- Answer that. - No.
Yes, it was very nice. Thank you.
When was this?
Does that mean there will have to be a funeral?
I'll come up. Okay.
- My mother's dead. - Oh, Joe.
I know what it's like.
My whole life changed when my mother died.
I'm so sorry.
And while I'm away, see a doctor.
A proper doctor. You're sick.
Your mother's ready now...
if you'd like to come in and pay your respects.
I think father first.
Stop it, Joe. I don't want to laugh.
I didn't know her. I don't want to laugh.
I still don't know why you want to go calling yourself Joe.
John's a much classier name.
You've left her glasses off.
Yes. You'll find that's normal procedure.
Generally speaking, people prefer it.
What's happened to her teeth?
She was proud of her teeth.
Oh, God. Chuck them away.
I want something to remember her by.
You've no feeling at all, do you?
I've started night school now.
Modern English Literature.
It's amazing how many writers are queer.
Do you think Mom's why you like lads?
You do look at lads. I've seen you.
You do look at lads. I've seen you.
I've had a better time than they had.
We had no time at all.
There must have been times...
when you were happy.
You kiss now. You never used to kiss.
I never told you...
I met Paul McCartney.
Thought you were a bobby at first.
- Black tie. - A funeral.
- Who died? - My mother and two sisters.
Dead in the fire that consumed our home.
- You must be heartbroken. - I am.
Handle my balls.
Do you need any assistance in stripping the corpse?
I do not need a lesson in anatomy. I was a trained nurse.
I am now removing her underclothes.
Please. You forget, this was my mother.
- I'm sorry. - What about?
Hand me the prop teeth.
Don't mess about. I'm on.
Use these instead. They were my mother's.
Is there anything else?
Is there anything else?
I don't know what to say about the end.
It wasn't a natural act.
I didn't mean that. These things happen, that's all.
I have an appointment with the psychiatrist at 10:00 tomorrow.
Thank you for all the trouble you've taken.
You don't want a psychiatrist.
It's this room. You've lived here too long.
I keep finding places. You won't even go look.
"Two bedrooms, two reception rooms, bathroom, and patio.
"This well-proportioned accommodation can be easily maintained...
"with minimum effort, leaving more time for leisure pursuits."
- Where? - East Croydon.
I won't live in East Croydon.
You're so unadventurous. I love the country.
It'll be nice to see the occasional green field.
- East Croydon? - Anywhere! Not you.
You'd be having a troll up and down till your balls dropped off.
What did the doctor say?
He's already talking about hospital.
I haven't even seen the psychiatrist.
Still, he's a very good doctor.
He treats cabinet ministers.
What happens if we split up?
How would that help me? We're talking about me.
We can't go on like this.
I've given you everything. I made you.
Listen to the dialogue, dear.
I'm not Eliza fucking Doolittle. I made myself.
- Those are my books. - I'd see you all right.
- I taught you. - I taught you, too.
What? How to go into a public lavatory?
if it hadn't been you, it would have been someone else.
- Sleep on it. - How?
I could give you a wank.
- What do you want? - Joe.
I'm not John.
If you change your mind about the wank, don't wake me up.
I don't understand my life.
I was an only child.
I lost both my parents.
By the time I was 20, I was going bald.
I'm a homosexual.
In the way of circumstances and background...
I had everything an artist could possibly want.
It was practically a blueprint.
I was programmed to be a novelist or a playwright.
But I'm not and you are.
You do everything better than me!
You even sleep better than me!
I should have used this.
But you'd have spotted that straight away.
I loved him.
I must have loved him.
I chose him to kill me.
I was scheduled to pick him up at 12:00.
A private lunch.
He leads an increasingly glamorous life.
Is he a heavy sleeper?
I know nothing about his personal life.
Idle curiosity has never been my strong point.
Try looking through the letterbox.
Hello, Mr. Orton.
Personally, I've driven in the firm's car, but different destinations.
Has the other got a bald head?
No, he wears a wig.
Can you break down this door?
Can we break down the door?
If there's damage to be done, call the police.
That's their job.
If he hadn't murdered Joe, nobody would ever have known his name.
Ken was the first wife.
Did all the work and the waiting, and then...
First wives don't usually beat their husbands' heads in.
No, though why, I can't think.
So what does that make you? The second wife?
Better than that, dear.
There were two ceremonies.
Joe's at Golders Green. Everybody there. House full.
Ken's at Enfield. You couldn't give tickets away.
they fetched up together at the end.
Strictly speaking, we would have preferred it...
if both the deceased had been cremated on the premises.
Intermingling would then have been carried out by experienced personnel...
under controlled conditions.
I think I'm putting in more of Joe than I am of Kenneth.
It's a gesture, dear, not a recipe.
I hope nobody gets to hear about this in Leicester.
P S 2004
P T U
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