- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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I should have been a film critic
Paulette Goddard and Michael Wilding and supporting actors such as Glyniss Johns and C. Aubrey Smith Directed by Alexander Korda make the 1999 version pale when compared to the original. Despite using the same basic words by Oscar Wilde, written in the end of the Century in England with the set of social and moral standards current, the 1999 version resembles smeared lipstick. It just misses the standard set by the first. Paulette Godard plays a beautiful but wicked woman, something that is lost in the 1999 version. Perhaps women were less prevalent than today. Leonard Maitland prefers the new version judging by his rating. Only the technical aspects of the new film exceed the original. If you were old enough to see the 1999 version, but missed the original due to being unborn, you owe it to see this film and great acting that did not rely simply on the popularity and beauty of the actors. In just 15 years, most of the central actors are unkown. Whereas, the most of the Central Actors worked from young to old. Glyiss Johns for example was in a film with Sandra Bullock. And Sandra Bullock is still working.As for this film, perhaps the second best work of one of Englands best modern playwrite, is a comedy, satire, morality play and a film serious all at the same time. Hypocracy, false superior morality, and in the end a love story make this one worth watching. My comparison between the two versions is simple. I am correct and Maitland is in error.
Restrained and Brilliant
This film version surpasses the recent one in every respect, especially since the 1999 version shows Mrs. Cheverley to be only slightly lacking in moral fiber. On the other hand, Paulette Goddard's rendition faithfully follows Wilde's own description of the lady as ""a heliotrope with diamonds." Goddard may lend to the part a bit of warmth and brilliance not written into the original characterization. I like Wilding's restrained version of the dandy, Lord Goring, but for my money, the best Lord Goring for all time must be Jeremy Brett.
Witty Justice Prevails
- Will Fox
Prominent British politician, Lord Robert Chilton, is preparing to expose a financial stock swindle in Parliament. But then a ruthlessly rich woman, Mrs. Chivelley, who has invested heavily in the shady venture threatens to uncover a damaging secret in the politician's past, if he continues to plan to publicly expose the speculation as a fraud. His problem is compounded by Lady Gertrude Chilton, his wife's knowledge since school days of Mrs. Chivelley's dishonest reputation as a student, leading to her expulsion. Now his wife's integrity is intolerant of the blackmailer, extending to forbidding her husband from seeing the scandalous woman again, fearing he would be too tempted into dishonoring his public trust.Enter Oscar Wilde's alter ego and spokesman in the play: Witty young Viscount Arthur Goering, the best friend of Lord Robert Chiltem. As mutually trusting friends, Robert confesses to Arthur that when Robert was only 22, a recent graduate and poor, he was tempted by Arthur's father, Lord Cavendish, to disclose the British Cabinet's secret plan to build the Suez Canal. The trading of this insiders' secret made both men rich. Robert's riches also attracted the future Lady Gertrude's marriage.Arthur's wit convinces Robert to pursue integrity, to save his marriage and to uphold British public trust in government. Then, Mrs. Chivelley plies her femme fatale wiles, pursuing Arthur and her old schoolmate, Gertrude. Both reject her blackmailer's threats.The remainder of the play pits playfully Arthur's detective and social skills against the conniving Chivelley. Her serpentine history ironically exposes her criminal calumny. Witty justice prevails.By 20th Century Will Fox
Love this Film!
Maybe the timing was bad when the film was originally released, but it's a very enjoyable and elegant to watch. Fun dialogue, gorgeous color and furnishing.
Give Americans a little credit
Michael Wilding and Glynis Johns are charming together, and even though it's not my favorite Wilde, the supporting performances make this worth watching. But what's with the TCM writer sniping "then, as now" Americans don't care for "intellectual" films? As a rule, "We likes movees that r gud" -- be they "intellectual", boorish, or anything in between.
- John d. McClary
This work of cinema unleashed the talents of the English people after the war. You see how creative a people the English are. One area of outstanding art direction was the jewelry and gowns. The furniture in the couple's bedroom is something to see. To sum up what this movie presents must have been the efforts of many an Englishmen striving to show the world that the World has alot to life for after the choas of the WWII. One final note I was able to buy a copy of the 1947 version but it is a very poor copy nothing like the movie I saw on TCM.