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Salome's Last Dance (1988)

 -  Biography | Comedy | Drama  -  June 1988 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 822 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 12 critic

Late on Guy Fawkes Day, 1892, Oscar Wilde arrives at a high-class brothel where a surprise awaits: a staging of his play "Salome," with parts played by prostitutes, Wilde's host, his lover ... See full summary »



(play), (translation), 1 more credit »
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Title: Salome's Last Dance (1988)

Salome's Last Dance (1988) on IMDb 6.5/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Herodias / Lady Alice
Stratford Johns ...
Herod / Alfred Taylor
Nickolas Grace ...
Imogen Millais-Scott ...
Salome / Rose
Denis Lill ...
Tigellenus / Chilvers
Russell Lee Nash ...
Cappadocian / Kenneth (as Alfred Russell)
A. Nubin
Warren Saire ...
Kenny Ireland ...
1st Soldier
Michael Van Wijk ...
2nd Soldier
Paul Clayton ...
Imogen Claire ...


Late on Guy Fawkes Day, 1892, Oscar Wilde arrives at a high-class brothel where a surprise awaits: a staging of his play "Salome," with parts played by prostitutes, Wilde's host, his lover Bosey, and Lady Alice. The movie moves between the play and Wilde's night. In the play, Herod begs his pubescent step-daughter Salome to dance for him, promising her anything she desires. Her mother, Herodias, objects. Salome is stung by John the Baptist's rejection of her affections. The prophet's scolding celibacy puts him between the expressed desire of age and youth. Wilde dallies with a young man as he watches the show, provoking Bosey's jealousy. Two surprises await us. Written by <>

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R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

June 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Salome's Last Dance  »

Box Office


$331,469 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Featured in A British Picture (1989) See more »


In the Hall Of The Mountain King
from "Peer Gynt"
Music by Edvard Grieg
See more »

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User Reviews

Vastly superior to the better known Opera.
3 July 2003 | by (Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada) – See all my reviews

Oscar Wilde, who wrote the stage play "Salome", was one of the greatest wits of his time, but lived a lifestyle that created continuous controversy in the society in which he lived. Today he is perhaps best known for authorship of "The Ballard of Reading Jail", which was written during one of the times when he was in prison following a direct confrontation with the government of the time. When he wrote "Salome" it was banned for a time by the English stage censorship and, even though it can be a most rewarding performance to watch, stage productions of it are still relatively infrequent. Consequently many people today are more familiar with the bowdlerised opera which was based on the play and was composed by Richard Strauss. The opera has been filmed by at least two major directors, but for the cinematographic enthusiast there is also this very noteworthy film, directed by Ken Russell, which is much more closely based on Wilde's play. In my opinion this film is dramatically far superior to the rather pathetic opera, and is very worth while seeking out by anyone interested. Basically it exploits the psychological tensions which may have existed in King Herod's court, and which could have accounted for the demand by Salome for the head of John the Baptist on a platter; the story that is so baldly reported in the Bible.

The scenario of this film is set in a brothel where Oscar Wilde is treated to an illegal birthday performance of his play, acted by friends who include some of the employees of the host establishment. This choice of venue has upset many critics but it is totally irrelevant to the play - it is helpful for a modern viewer to remember that, at the time in which this film is set, Oscar Wilde and his literary friends would meet regularly to present impromptu performances of works they had written, basically as a quality control procedure for the final product they eventually published; and this film simply exploits the practice. It is essentially a film of a play, with the story associated with the presentation of the play added to maintain cinematographic interest.

Ken Russell is a controversial director but although the film is not without faults, the overall quality is outstanding, the cast is superb, and there are particularly memorable performances by Glenda Jackson as Queen Herodias and by Imogen Millais-Scott (who shows the capability of looking any age between thirteen and thirty) as Princess Salome. Both the play and the film effectively capture the decadence, which was characteristic of the royal courts of petty despots at this point in history, better than any other works I have seen. It should be a must for anyone who has the opportunity to see it.

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