At the height of his fame (his plays being much celebrated in London in the 1890's), Oscar Wilde angers the Lord Queensbury by having what is whispered and gossiped as a romantic ... See full summary »
At the height of his fame (his plays being much celebrated in London in the 1890's), Oscar Wilde angers the Lord Queensbury by having what is whispered and gossiped as a romantic relationship with Queensbury's son, twenty years Wilde's junior. When Queensbury slanders Wilde, the arrogant artist decides to take the matter to court, and brings about his own downfall. Written by
Gary Dickerson <email@example.com>
For a movie made in 1960, The Trials of Oscar Wilde was probably ahead of its time, given the general taboo against open discussion of homosexuality in that era. Just guessing, but it also may have gained the inordinate attention of the censors (such as the old Catholic Legion of Decency). I first became aware of it only the other day (Sept. 2005), when it was shown on Turner Classic Movies here in the USA. I can't believe this was the first time that a relatively tame, 45-year-old movie has been shown on American TV, but I wonder. The movie tiptoes diplomatically around the "elephant in the room," but its central theme and the intent of the producers are clear enough for adult moviegoers. (I can't remember the word "homosexual" being uttered in the dialogue, but there were unmistakable surrogates, such as "sodomite.") As a heterosexual, far be it from me to ask this question, but notwithstanding Peter Finch's fine performance in the lead role, isn't his movie "Wilde" a more masculine portrayal than the historical Wilde? Perhaps this was also a necessary concession to the time in which it was made. In any case, I also offer this spelling nitpick: the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1982) refers to Wilde's nemesis as the "Marquess of Queensberry," not "Queensbury." Also, the rules of boxing are the "Marquess of Queensberry rules."
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