Prick Up Your Ears (1987)
Trailer-Keep The River On Your Right; The Last Seduction
Trailer-My Beautiful Laundrette; Cinema Paradiso
|Year Of Production||1987|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Stephen Frears|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Pan & Scan||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Directed by Stephen Frears, who also directed High Fidelity, Prick Up Your Ears is best thought of as an 'Arthouse film' and will only appeal to a select minority. It beautifully portrays English sixties working class life and the furtive and fleeting liaisons of the male homosexual community who were constantly harassed, and indeed imprisoned, by the establishment. Despite the threat of toilet-frequenting Bobbies, prying neighbours and petty officialdom, Orton never failed to pick up a daily liaison identified by a sly look, the wink of an eye or a strategically placed handkerchief.
The three lead actors put in understated, yet masterful performances. Gary Oldman, long before his villain roles, has a smooth, coquettish look, without being overtly camp that is entirely convincing whilst Alfred Morina also plays a masterful 'femme' reminiscent of one of the old boilers out of Chicken Run. Vanessa Redgrave plays a dapper matronly role as Orton's literary agent whilst Julie Walters gets a brief look-in as Joe's mum. Whilst the homosexual encounters may prove uncomfortable viewing to some and it is certainly an intense and ultimately tragic film, it has a gentle humour and charm and many witty one-liners from an ever-sparring couple.
This whole DVD smacks of low-budget and it has a pretty ordinary video transfer.
The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 (pan and scan I'm afraid) and is not 16x9 enhanced. There is the inevitable cropping of heads and elbows due to the Pan & Scan formatting and the already cramp interior of the bed-sit is rendered almost claustrophobic.
The film has only a moderate degree of sharpness not helped by the frequent low light settings. The shadow detail is generally poor and in the frequent near-dark bedroom and toilet scenes it's (thankfully) near-impossible to figure out what is going on. Molina's sweaty torso and pate in the oily, black introduction is reminiscent of the creature rising from the black lagoon replete with a fair smattering of low level noise which is present throughout the movie.
The colours are drab and muted in keeping with the interior lighting, poor weather conditions and general greyness in the industrial centrelands of England. There is no appreciable colour noise or bleeding.
There are few MPEG artefacts apart from Gibbs effect on the opening titles but aliasing is prominent throughout the movie and at times distracting. There are very few film artefacts with an occasional white fleck visible.
There are no subtitles.
The film is a single sided, single layered DVD-5 which probably accounts for the poor video transfer.
There is one audio track; English surround-encoded Dolby Digital 2.0.
Thankfully, most dialogue is directed to the centre speaker and is very clear, mostly due to the excellent calibre of actor. There were no problems with lip or audio synch.
The music is credited to Stanley Myers. There's not much of it in the film apart from the opening and closing credits but we occasionally get a short blast of swinging sixties big-band sound.
The surrounds and subwoofer were not utilised and given the nature of the film were not really missed.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video was mediocre and could have been a lot better if presented in the original film aspect ratio.
The sound was uninspiring but adequate for the movie
Extras were just about non-existent.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-900E, using RGB output|
|Display||Pioneer SD-T50W1 (127cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Denon ACV-A1SE. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Theta Digital Intrepid|
|Speakers||ML Aeon front. B&W LRC6 Centre. ML Script rear. REL Strata III SW.|