- The Importance of Being Earnest (1952 film)
name = The Importance of Being Earnest
Oscar Wilde Anthony Asquith
Michael Redgrave Michael Denison Edith Evans Joan Greenwood Dorothy Tutin Margaret Rutherford Miles Malleson
Teddy Baird Earl St. John
released = flagicon|UK
2 June 1952
22 December 1952( NYC)
runtime = 95 min.
language = English
Benjamin Frankel| amg_id = 1:24442
imdb_id = 0044744
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 McKellenhas 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 Prismin this adaptation, played Lady Bracknell in the 1946 BBC production..
Awards and nominations
The film received a
BAFTAnomination for Dorothy Tutinas Most Promising Newcomer and a Golden Lionnomination for Anthony Asquith at the Venice Film Festival.
Michael Redgraveas John Worthing
Michael Denisonas Algernon
Edith Evansas Lady Bracknell
Joan Greenwoodas Gwendolen
Margaret Rutherfordas Miss Prism
Miles Mallesonas Canon Chasuble
Dorothy Tutinas Cecily
The Importance of Being Earnest" (original play by Oscar Wilde)
*"The Importance of Being Earnest" (2002 film version)
*The Great British Films, pp 156-158, Jerry Vermilye, 1978, Citadel Press, ISBN 080650661X
*BFI screenonline archive [http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/452312/index.html]
* [http://www.criterion.com/asp/release.asp?id=158&eid=227§ion=essay Criterion Collection essay by Charles Dennis]
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