Gloriously Technicolor vintage adaptation of Wilde’s classic play of wit and manners. Thoroughly English in its execution, being directed by Anthony Asquith and starring Michael Redgrave, Edith Evans and Margaret Rutherford.
The curtain rises on this film, stressing its origins as a play. So, you may wonder, why bother? Is it just a record of a great cast (too expensive for a theatrical run) put on film?
Happily the answer is no, since director Asquith (who also adapted the play for the screen) – a gay, upper-class man of some directorial talent – was in tune with the original and the period. He achieves exactly the right pace and level of heightened believability for this to become filmed theatre, not theatrical.
There are great sets, deft direction, crisp editing and acting of such consummate grace that it matches Wilde’s wit in this comedy of manners.
Michael Redgrave as Ernest Worthing
Michael Denison as Algernon Moncrieff
Edith Evans as Lady Bracknell
Joan Greenwood as Gwendolen Fairfax
Dorothy Tutin as Cecily Cardew
Margaret Rutherford as Miss Prism
Miles Malleson as Canon Chasuble
Richard Wattis as Seton
Walter Hudd as Lane
Aubrey Mather as Merriman
Director: Anthony Asquith
Script: Oscar Wilde
UK | 95 minutes | 1952