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An Ideal Husband (1947)

Approved | | Comedy | February 1948 (USA)
A prominent politician is preparing to expose a financial scandal. But then a woman who has invested heavily in the shady venture threatens to uncover a damaging secret in the politician's ... See full summary »


Alexander Korda


Lajos Biró (screenplay) (as Lajos Biro), Oscar Wilde (play)


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Complete credited cast:
Paulette Goddard ... Mrs. Laura Cheveley
Michael Wilding ... Viscount Arthur Goring
Diana Wynyard ... Lady Gertrude Chiltern
Hugh Williams ... Sir Robert Chiltern
C. Aubrey Smith ... Earl of Caversham, Goring's Father (as Sir C. Aubrey Smith)
Glynis Johns ... Miss Mabel Chiltern, Sir Robert's sister
Constance Collier ... Lady Markby
Christine Norden ... Mrs. Margaret Marchmont
Harriette Johns Harriette Johns ... Olivia, Countess of Basildon
Michael Medwin ... Duke of Nonesuch
Michael Anthony ... Viscomte de Nanjac
Peter Hobbes Peter Hobbes ... Mr. Eddie Montford
John Clifford John Clifford ... Mr. Mason, the Chiltern Butler
Fred Groves Fred Groves ... Phipps, Goring's Butler
Michael Ward Michael Ward ... Mr. Tommy Tafford


A prominent politician is preparing to expose a financial scandal. But then a woman who has invested heavily in the shady venture threatens to uncover a damaging secret in the politician's past if he exposes the speculation as a fraud. His problem is compounded by his wife's intolerance of the slightest character flaws. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"An Ideal Husband has to look to his future...a woman has to look to her past!"




Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

February 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Un mari idéal See more »

Filming Locations:

Hyde Park, London, England, UK See more »


Box Office


£500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (original)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


First film of Michael Ward. See more »


Mrs. Margaret Marchmont: Olivia, I have a curious feeling of absolute faintness. I think I should like some supper, very much. I know I should like some supper.
Olivia, Countess of Basildon: I'm positively dying for supper, Margaret.
Mrs. Margaret Marchmont: Men are so horribly selfish. They never think of these things.
Olivia, Countess of Basildon: Men are grossly material. Grossly material!
[Enters the Viscomte]
Viscomte de Nanjac: Countess, may I have the honor of taking you down to supper?
Olivia, Countess of Basildon: I never take supper, thank you, Viscomte. But, I will come down with you, with pleasure.
See more »


Version of Ein idealer Gatte (1935) See more »


Minuet d'Amour
Music by Frederic Cowen
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User Reviews

Enjoyable, not really great
4 June 2009 | by bensonjSee all my reviews

This film doesn't have a very good reputation, e.g., "slow moving" (Maltin) and "a slight, stiff play is swamped by the cast" (Halliwell). IMDb comments are mixed. Well, it does have the limitations one would expect from Korda filming a period play in lavish Technicolor. It is pictorially static, with overly bright colors. For the most part, the actors' voices are animated but their bodies are strangely inert. But in general I thought this wasn't that bad an adaptation, somewhat better than the trendy 1999 version, if only because Korda understood the period he was filming. It seems to me that Wilde's plot complications have been smoothed out a bit here (his name is not even on the credits!) so that the solution follows the problem too quickly and the whole thing can be over in 96 minutes and still have a spectacular recreation of crowds in period costume at the Ascot races. (Perhaps this is an unfair comment since IMDb notes that an original version was a half-hour longer.) With the casting and the spirited performance of Goddard, Mrs. Cheveley becomes the most animated and virile character in the film. Lady Chiltern's conception of morality should stem from a vigorous, naive idealistic vision. She should be a dynamic, slightly-otherworldly treasure with a fairytale view of the world and be the core of the film, for the plot hinges on her vision of purity. The casting and somewhat stodgy performance of Wynyard in the role weakens the story. The character becomes merely an upright, slightly stuffy moralist. Hmmm. Perhaps the criticisms directed at the film are justified. In spite of this, I quite enjoyed this, my third go-around with the play. The Importance of Being Earnest is perhaps more witty and amusing, but this story has a much more provocative drama at its core, with interesting things to say about ethics, morality and idealism. I find it odd that it is universally described as a comedy. Certainly there's a lot of pithy, epigrammatic dialogue, and some light moments, but the basic story is a clear-cut moral drama. The anguish of Sir Chiltern and his wife is real, the stakes are high and virtually life-threatening, and the moral decisions are agonizing.

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