Trials of Oscar Wilde

The Trials of Oscar Wilde

Director: Ken Hughes, Peter Finch, Yvonne Mitchell, James Mason

Cast: Ken Hughes, Peter Finch, Yvonne Mitchell, James Mason

     
 

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Peter Finch portrays the titular flamboyant Irish poet/playwright in The Trials of Oscar Wilde. The storyline, lifted to a great extent from actual court records, recounts Wilde's late 19th century libel action against the Marquis of Queensbury. The author loses, whereupon he himself is tried for sodomy due to his homosexual affair with the Marquis' son, Lord

Overview

Peter Finch portrays the titular flamboyant Irish poet/playwright in The Trials of Oscar Wilde. The storyline, lifted to a great extent from actual court records, recounts Wilde's late 19th century libel action against the Marquis of Queensbury. The author loses, whereupon he himself is tried for sodomy due to his homosexual affair with the Marquis' son, Lord Douglas. Wilde is sentenced to prison; the public humiliation leads to the once-proud writer's immortal poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol--and to his premature death in 1900. The film had to tiptoe around certain touchy legalities, in that sodomy was still a punishable offence in British courts in 1960. The US title for this film was The Trial of Oscar Wilde, effectively killing the ironic double meaning of the plural British title. In certain regions, the film was shown as The Man with the Green Carnation.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
A sterling performance from Peter Finch infuses The Trials of Oscar Wilde with a radiant glow, despite some concessions to the mores of the time in which it was filmed that may strike modern viewers as both odd and rather dishonest. In 1960, simply making an English film about Wilde was tempting fate, as any real discussion of his homosexuality and its consequences would have been banned by the national censor. Thus, Trials has to skirt the issue quite a bit, hinting as far as it can and opting for ambiguity when things threaten to get a bit dicey. Today's audiences will find this a bit coy in places, a bit baffling in others, and may feel that the filmmakers are simply trying to whitewash the facts. Certainly, in this treatment, Wilde comes off as a bit more noble and "above it all" than the facts indicate. However, this has the dramatic benefit of making his fall from grace more tragic. It also allows Finch to turn in a performance that captures all of the wit and mischief of Wilde, while at the same time creating a portrait that is more muscular and masculine than that which is usually credited to the man. Finch does a superb job of capturing the many sides of Wilde, and of anchoring the film with his presence and his manner. James Mason, who should be equally good as the lawyer who undoes Wilde, should be Finch's match; yet Mason seems to be operating at less than his full powers, turning in a performance that is good, yet less than it should be. Lionel Jeffries engages in some marvelous scenery chewing, and John Fraser quite looks the part of Lord Alfred Douglas. Ken Hughes' direction is solid, always leading the viewer exactly where he needs to go. The Trials of Oscar Wilde may be a bit dated, but it's still quite powerful -- and Finch is often mesmerizing.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/09/2015
UPC:
0644827126927
Original Release:
1960
Source:
Nostalgia Family
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sales rank:
21,386

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Peter Finch Oscar Wilde
Yvonne Mitchell Constance Wilde
James Mason Sir Edward Carson
Nigel Patrick Sir Edward Clarke
Lionel Jeffries Marquis of Queensberry
John Fraser Lord Alfred Douglas
Sonia Dresdel Lady Wilde
Maxine Audley Ada Leverson
James Booth Alfred Wood
Emrys Jones Robbie Ross
Paul Rogers Frank Harris
Ian Fleming Arthur
Laurence Naismith Prince of Wales
Naomi Chance Lily Langtry
Meredith Edwards Auctioneer
Anthony Newlands First Clerk of Arraigns
Michael Goodliffe Charles Gill
Liam Gaffney Willie Wilde
Ronald Cardew Lord Sonning
Derek Aylward Lord Percy Douglas
Campbell Singer Insector
A.J. Brown Justice Collins
Charles Carson Justice Charles
David Ensor Justice Wills
Gladys Henson Landlady
Cicely Paget-Bowman Lady Queensberry
Victor Kendall Actor
Lloyd Lamble Charles Humphries
Robert Percival Second Clerk of Arraigns
Victor Brooks Constable
Alfred Burke Reporter
Edward Evans Sydney
John Welsh Cafe Royal Manager
Howard Lang Court Usher

Technical Credits
Ken Hughes Director,Screenwriter
Ken Adam Production Designer
Albert R. Broccoli Producer
Bill Constable Art Director
Geoffrey Foot Editor
Ron Goodwin Score Composer
Harold Huth Producer
Ted Moore Cinematographer

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