When Algernon discovers that his friend, Ernest, has created a fictional brother for whenever he needs a reason to escape dull country life, Algernon poses as the brother, resulting in ever increasing confusion.
Delightful film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's superb play about Victorian-era English manners and mix-ups. The play and performances are so close to Mr. Wilde's original words, you really can't go wrong; although, on close inspection, there are clearly some logistical problems. For example, it is shot beautifully, but without a flourish or imagination worthy of Wilde. And, cameras emphasize things that wouldn't have mattered with the otherwise marvelous cast on stage. To be fair, the film acknowledges this in its execution.
Everyone is exemplary, but elderly Aunt Edith Evans really demands to be seen. She possess the role of "Lady Augusta Bracknell" for all eternity, and would be famous for merely uttering the two words "A handbag?" but, every word and phoneme slips sardonically from the mind of Oscar Wilde to dame Edith's tongue. Ms. Evans should have received some "Best Supporting Actress" notice, but this was released in 1952, not 1948, and American voters were favoring homegrown material.
******** The Importance of Being Earnest (6/2/52) Anthony Asquith ~ Michael Redgrave, Michael Denison, Edith Evans, Joan Greenwood
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