The Importance of Being Earnest (1952 film)

The Importance of Being Earnest (1952 film)

Infobox Film
name = The Importance of Being Earnest


writer = Oscar Wilde
Anthony Asquith
starring = Michael Redgrave
Michael Denison
Edith Evans
Joan Greenwood
Dorothy Tutin
Margaret Rutherford
Miles Malleson

director = Anthony Asquith
producer = Teddy Baird
Earl St. John

released = flagicon|UK 2 June 1952
flagicon|USA 22 December 1952 (NYC)
runtime = 95 min.
country = United Kingdom
language = English
music = Benjamin Frankel | amg_id = 1:24442
imdb_id = 0044744

"The Importance of Being Earnest" (1952) is a British film adaptation of the play by Oscar Wilde. It was directed by Anthony Asquith, who also adapted the screenplay, and was produced by Teddy Baird.

Adaptation

The film is largely faithful to Wilde's text, although it divides some of the acts into shorter scenes in different locations. Edith Evans's outraged delivery of the line "A "hand"bag?" has become legendary. As actor Ian McKellen has written, it is a performance "so acclaimed and strongly remembered that it inhibits audiences and actors years later" providing a challenge for any actress taking on the role of Lady Bracknell. [Ian McKellen, [http://www.mckellen.com/writings/750413observer.htm "Ian McKellen on The Test of Time"] , "The Observer", 13 April 1975.]

The cutting becomes perverse in (theatrical) Act Three where it starts throwing out the best jokes. It also supplies no reason for Lady Bracknell to know where Gwendolen is and follow her there - which is surreal in the wrong way. Earlier oddities include Algy asking why the giver of the cigarette case calls herself Cecily if she is Ernest's aunt, which makes no sense and sounds like a simple mistake. A political line is dumbed down for later audiences so as to result in Lady Bracknell equating Tories and Liberals - actually the opposite poles of the spectrum at the time.

The film is noted for its acting, yet the parts played by Redgrave and Denison call for actors ten years younger. Redgrave would have been more youthful without his moustache. Margaret Rutherford, who plays Miss Prism in this adaptation, played Lady Bracknell in the 1946 BBC production..

Awards and nominations

The film received a BAFTA nomination for Dorothy Tutin as Most Promising Newcomer and a Golden Lion nomination for Anthony Asquith at the Venice Film Festival.

Cast

*Michael Redgrave as John Worthing
*Michael Denison as Algernon
*Edith Evans as Lady Bracknell
*Joan Greenwood as Gwendolen
*Margaret Rutherford as Miss Prism
*Miles Malleson as Canon Chasuble
*Dorothy Tutin as Cecily

ee also

*"The Importance of Being Earnest" (original play by Oscar Wilde)
*"The Importance of Being Earnest" (2002 film version)

References

Notes

Bibliography

*The Great British Films, pp 156-158, Jerry Vermilye, 1978, Citadel Press, ISBN 080650661X

External links

*
*BFI screenonline archive [http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/452312/index.html]
* [http://www.criterion.com/asp/release.asp?id=158&eid=227&section=essay Criterion Collection essay by Charles Dennis]


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