Oscar Wilde's homosexuality is exposed when he tries to defend himself against his lover's father.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Phyllis Calvert ...
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Sir Edgar Clarke
Edward Chapman ...
Martin Benson ...
George Alexander
Robert Harris ...
Justice Henn Collins
Henry Oscar ...
William Devlin ...
Solicitor-General
Stephen Dartnell ...
Cobble
Ronald Leigh-Hunt ...
Lionel Johnson
Martin Boddey ...
Insp. Richards
Leonard Sachs ...
Richard Legallienne
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Storyline

In the 1890s, famed writer Oscar Wilde (Robert Morley) embarks on a relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas (John Neville), despite his marriage to Constance (Phyllis Calvert). This relationship and its consequences are the focus of this dramatization of Wilde's life. Wilde sues Alfred's father, the Marquis of Queensberry (Edward Chapman), for libel - a lawsuit that turns against him when a prosecuting lawyer forces him to admit to his homosexuality, leading to a second lawsuit. Written by mahajanssen

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May 1960 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Forbidden Passion  »

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1.37 : 1
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Robert Morley made his name on the stage playing Oscar Wilde at the London Gate Theatre in 1936. The play was a success despite being banned from major London theatres because of its theme of homosexuality, and was later produced in America with Morely making his Broadway debut in the part on October 10, 1938. The play was a hit in New York and ran 247 performances, a substantial run at the time for a straight play. See more »

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Lord Of Language
12 July 2012 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

It took over two decades for Robert Morley to bring Oscar Wilde to the screen. Morley scored his first big break playing Oscar Wilde in what might be described as an off Drury Lane theater because homosexuality was the love that dare not speak its name in 1936. In 1960 in America it was still not spoken though in the United Kingdom it was starting to get a whisper or two.

One of the great men of literature was brought down by Victorian mores and justice when he happened to run afoul of a monstrously homophobic father who accused him of seducing his son.

The movie-going public had a double dose of Oscar Wilde in 1960 with Peter Finch giving an equally brilliant performance as Wilde in another film which is seen a lot more often because the producer had the foresight to do it in color. So Morley's feature kind of took a back seat.

Both films concentrate totally on the trial, the first one for libel that Wilde stupidly brought against the Marquis of Queensbury, father of his inamorata Lord Alfred Douglas. Douglas is played by young John Neville and he's a weak callow youth. I thought Neville's interpretation of the part lacking the bite that John Fraser's had in the Finch film or of Jude Law in the 1997 film Wilde which starred Stephen Fry.

In the Citadel Film series book on the Films of James Mason, Mason himself said that he liked what Ralph Richardson did with the part of Edward Carson better than his own performance. Richardson could easily have been labeled the shark of Old Bailey. He is devastatingly brilliant in his performance. Mason's words were extremely generous to a colleague he obviously respected and admired. Mason was Carson in the Peter Finch film and he was pretty good himself.

Phyllis Calvert was the long suffering Mrs. Wilde with whom Oscar had two sons. Poor Wilde was born a hundred years too soon. Today he'd be Ian McKellan and proudly marry Lord Alfred Douglas for better or worse, richer or poorer. Given Bosy's habits it would have been poorer very soon.

Robert Morley was a great actor who could play a great range of parts from comic to tragic. We're fortunate indeed to have his breakthrough performance preserved


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