Cast list from front page of Up Against It



Orton took Ramsey rather than Halliwell to the Evening Standard awards ceremony. Three letters were waiting for Orton at her office, one of them informing Orton Loot had won Plays and Players best play in the critics annual poll. Orton was on a roll.

The papers were filled with stories of Orton selling the Loot film rights for a wildly exaggerated £100,000 (the figure was actually £25,000) and the box office increased for Loot now the award had conferred legitimacy and people had been told ‘it was ok to like it’. Orton’s good fortune continued when he was contacted by The Beatles management who wanted him to write a script for their next film.

‘Basically the Beatles are getting fed up with the Dick Lester type of direction. They want dialogue to speak … Difficult this, as I don’t think any of the Beatles can act in any accepted sense.’ Orton's Diary 15th January 1967.

Orton was not convinced that the film would ever be made so he reworked one of his old novels, The Vision of Gombald Proval, into a script.

‘I began the first page or two of the film which I’m calling Up Against It’. I’m not bothering to write a character for them. I shall just do all my box of tricks – Sloane and Hal on them. After all if I repeat myself in the film it doesn’t matter. Nobody who sees the film will have seen Sloane or Loot’. Orton’s Diary 16th January 1966.

Orton was a big Beatles fan and met with Paul McCartney to discuss the film, recorded in some detail in his diary. The script was however rejected by the Beatles management with no reason given. Perhaps because their characters were adulterous cross-dressing murderers may have had something to do with it. Orton’s response was a succinct ‘Fuck them’. Lewenstein liked the script and two days later bought it for £10,000 and 10% of the profits, though it was never actually filmed.

Image: Courtesy The Orton Estate/Joe Orton Collection at the Library of the University of Leicester   Text © Leicester City Council / Orton Quotes: © The Orton Estate  

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