Oscar Wilde (1960)




Director:  Gregory Ratoff

Starring:   Robert Morley (Oscar Wilde), Ralph Richardson (Sir Edward Carson),  Phyllis Calvert (Constance Wilde),  John Neville (Lord Alfred Douglas), Dennis Price (Robert Ross),  Alexander Knox (Sir Edgar Clarke),  Edward Chapman (Marquis of Queensberry), Martin Benson (George Alexander), Robert Harris (Justice Henn Collins), Henry Oscar (Justice Wills), William Devlin (Solicitor-General), Stephen Dartnell (Cobble), Ronald Leigh-Hunt (Lionel Johnson), Martin Boddey (Insp. Richards), Leonard Sachs (Richard Legallienne).

Country:  British

The focus here is on Wilde's trial for sodomy.



Spoiler Warning:






Historical Background:

Oscar Wilde was a writer, critic, brilliant social commentator, and overall wit, as well as the chief proponent of the art for art's sake aesthetic movement.

1854  -- born Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde in Dublin, Ireland.

As a youngster he is exposed to the brilliant literary analysis at his mother's Dublin salon.

Gets his education at Trinity College, Dublin and at University of Oxford.  Admires English writers of aesthetic innovation such as Walter Pater and John Ruskin.

He is very eccentric with long hair and velvet knee breeches and fills his rooms with various art objects.  

1881  -- first book Poems.

1882  -- first play, Vera, or the Nihilists (1882), is produced in New York City, where he gives a highly successful lecture tour.

1884  -- settles in London and marries a wealthy Irish woman, with whom he has two sons. Now devotes himself exclusively to writing.  

1888  -- The Happy Prince (collection of fairy tales).

1891  --  Lord Arthur Savile's Crime, a collection of short stories

1891  -- novel Picture of Dorian Gray

1892  --  A House of Pomegranates (more fairy tales)

1892  -- comedy Lady Windermere's Fan

1893 --  comedy A Woman of No Importance

1894  --  Salomé is a serious drama about obsessive passion, produced in Paris in 1894 with the celebrated actor Sarah Bernhardt.

1895  -- comedy An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest .  

His chief love interest is the young Lord Alfred "Bosie" Douglas. Bosie's father, the originator of the "Marquess of Queensbury rules" in boxing, is livid over his son's relationship with Wilde, and determines to bring Wilde down.  Dad calls Wilde a sodomite and Wilde swears out a warrant for the arrest of Queensbury for libel. Wilde looses the case and he is arrested.

1895  --  at the peak of his career, Wilde is convicted of sodomy (any bizarre sexual act) and sentenced to two years in prison.  He is now financially bankrupt.

After prison, he spends the rest of his life in Paris under the pseudonym Sebastian Melmoth. Converts to Roman Catholicism.

1900  -- dies of meningitis in Paris on November 30.


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