The Importance of Being Earnest

( 3 )

Overview

Comedy comes in full swing with the 1952 adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest. Criterion's work on the film's original 1.33:1 full-frame version is nothing less than great. Sporting vibrant colors and dark black levels, this is a superior looking image that includes only a few slight imperfections (edge enhancement and grain). Overall fans should be very pleased with the effort put forth on this picture. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 1.0 in English and often sounds confined and ...
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Overview

Comedy comes in full swing with the 1952 adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest. Criterion's work on the film's original 1.33:1 full-frame version is nothing less than great. Sporting vibrant colors and dark black levels, this is a superior looking image that includes only a few slight imperfections (edge enhancement and grain). Overall fans should be very pleased with the effort put forth on this picture. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 1.0 in English and often sounds confined and flat. However, considering the film's age, the soundtrack is top-notch shape without nary a hint of distortion or hiss in the mix. Also included on this disc are English subtitles. Unfortunately, the buck stops here when it comes to substantial extra features on this DVD. The only supplements included on The Importance of Being Earnest are some production notes and a theatrical trailer for the movie.
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Special Features

Digital transfer; Rare production stills with notes by film historian Bruce eder; Original theatrical trailer; English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
Wordplay and situation comedy rule in this 1952 Anthony Asquith adaptation of the Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) play satirizing the marriage and social customs of the English upper crust of the 1890s. All the cast members perform wonderfully, but it is Dame Edith Evans who most engages the audience as snooty Lady Bracknell. Dressed in gaudy Victorian laces and a hat growing a garden of flowers, she turns the queen's English into windy tirades in which every syllable becomes two and parallel sentence structure becomes a lethal weapon. Of her nephew, she says, "He has nothing and looks everything." Of a family that boasts three residences but still comes a-cropper, she says, "Three addresses always inspire confidence, even in tradesmen." Lady Bracknell unwittingly epitomizes a central motif in the film -- and, of course, in the Wilde play -- when she disingenuously criticizes the aristocracy's preoccupation with appearances, "We live in an age of surfaces." Michael Redgrave and Michael Denisor sprinkle zesty wit into their performances as suitors vying to be called Earnest in order to win the hands of their ladies fair, two featherbrains portrayed with charming stupidity by Joan Greenwood and Dorothy Tutin. Meanwhile, roly-poly Canon Chasuble (Miles Malleson), who is given to napping at his desk under a kerchief, woos Miss Letitia Prism (Margaret Rutherford), tutor to one of the featherbrains. Once upon a time, Miss Prism mistook a baby for a book manuscript and placed the poor little chap in a handbag in a railway station and the book in a baby carriage. The fates of all the central characters depend on Miss Prism's recollection of that unfortunate incident. All in all, this is a delightful film that succeeds magnificently with nary a hint of violence or untoward behavior.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/25/2002
  • UPC: 037429165621
  • Original Release: 1952
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:35:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 623

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Michael Redgrave Jack Worthing
Edith Evans Lady Bracknell
Michael Denison Algemon Moncrieff
Dorothy Tutin Cecily Cardew
Miles Malleson Canon Chasuble
Margaret Rutherford Miss Prism
Joan Greenwood Gwendolen Fairfax
Ivor Barnard
Walter Hudd Lane
Aubrey Mather Merriman
Richard Wattis Seton
Technical Credits
Anthony Asquith Director, Screenwriter
Oscar Wilde Author
Carmen Dillon Art Director
Desmond Dickinson Cinematographer
Beatrice Dawson Costumes/Costume Designer
John Guthridge Editor
Teddy Baird Producer
Benjamin Frankel Score Composer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Opening Credits [1:36]
2. The Question of Cecily [5:28]
3. The Fine Art of Bunburying [2:57]
4. Cucumber Sandwiches [5:36]
5. An Earnest Proposal [4:44]
6. An Ordinary Handbag [7:49]
7. A Genuine Monster [2:48]
8. Cecily's Wonderful Secrets [3:34]
9. The Latin for Joy [2:47]
10. Flowers for Algernon [5:04]
11. Jack's Younger Brother [3:47]
12. A Great Success [2:01]
13. Cecily's Childish Dream [7:29]
14. A Perfectly Canonical Practice [2:22]
15. Dearest Gwendolyn, Dearest Cecily [8:53]
16. "Just One Question" [3:44]
17. An Insuperable Barrier [4:35]
18. A Life Crowded With Incident [3:28]
19. Jack Objects [6:26]
20. "Prism, Where Is That Baby?" [5:57]
21. The Vital Importance of Being Earnest [4:24]
22. Color Bars [:00]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Chapters
   Images in Context
      Anthony Asquith
      The Cast
      The Crew
   Trailer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Writing 5 Stars, DVD production 0

    A caveat regarding the messenger, not the message. This delightful play has been reproduced by the "pan and scan" method, resulting in conversations being reduced to isolated heads, talking. In a piece which is so converesation-centric, reactions to words are as important as the words themselves sad to say watching one character speak followed by a reaction shot had my head swiveling as though I were watching a badminton game. Perhaps the brass at Criterion will see fit to put some well deserved polish on this much loved opus by reissuing it in letterbox format, which would greatly enhance viewer enjoyment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Best Version

    This Version of Wilde's hillarious book really captures the essance of each character. They are thoroughly developed and heavily focused on what the writing intended. the newer versions focus too much on the characters actions then Wilde's natural whit, not the way it was ment to be enjoyed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews