6.5/10
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29 user 18 critic

Scandal (1989)

Based on the Profumo Scandal of 1963, an affair between an exotic dancer and the Minister of War shakes up the British government.

Writer:

Michael Thomas
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Hurt ... Stephen Ward
Joanne Whalley ... Christine Keeler (as Joanne Whalley-Kilmer)
Bridget Fonda ... Mandy Rice-Davies
Ian McKellen ... John Profumo
Leslie Phillips ... Lord Astor (Bill)
Britt Ekland ... Mariella Novotny
Daniel Massey ... Mervyn Griffith-Jones
Roland Gift ... Johnnie Edgecombe
Jean Alexander ... Mrs. Keeler
Alex Norton ... Detective Inspector
Ronald Fraser ... Justice Marshall
Paul Brooke ... John, Detective Sgt.
Jeroen Krabbé ... Eugene Ivanov (as Jeroen Krabbe)
Keith Allen ... Kevin, Reporter Sunday Pictorial
Ralph Brown ... Paul Mann
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Storyline

An English bon-vivant osteopath is enchanted with a young exotic dancer and invites her to live with him. He serves as friend and mentor, and through his contacts and parties she and her friend meet and date members of the Conservative Party. Eventually a scandal occurs when her affair with the Minister of War goes public, threatening their lifestyles and their freedom. Based on the real Profumo scandal of 1963. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It Would Be A Scandal To Miss It See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality, and for language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

Polish | English

Release Date:

28 April 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Skandalen See more »

Filming Locations:

UK See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$658,660, 30 April 1989

Gross USA:

$8,800,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,800,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Fujicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song 'Nothing Has Been Proved' which plays over the end credits was composed especially for the film by the Pet Shop Boys after producer Stephen Woolley invited them to produce a song for the film. With Woolley's approval, they asked Dusty Springfield to sing it (her second collaboration with the duo) as he liked the idea of having someone who was well known at the time of the Profumo Affair performing it. The music video shows Springfield singing in a club along with a Christine Keeler lookalike being interviewed by two 1960s style journalists (played by The Pet Shop Boys) in the background with camera flash bulbs going off. Along with these come clips from the film and it's stars, as well as original news footage from 1963 featuring the real life subjects of the film. This video was also used heavily to promote the film in the UK, and was used in place of a trailer by Palace on many occasions due to a detailed trailer never being produced for the film (brief teasers were the only kind produced). See more »

Goofs

Near the end of the film, when Mandy Rice-Davies is surrounded by the press, one photographer, using a twin-lens reflex camera, has his finger on the lower (taking) lens at the moment of exposure. No professional photographer would make this mistake. See more »

Quotes

Christine Keeler: You took me down there. It was you who wanted to go snooping around Westborne Grove at 1 o'clock in the morning. I never wanted to go; you made me. I'd never have met Lucky if it wasn't for you. I'd never have met Johnny, I'd never have met any of those people. It was all your idea.
Stephen Ward: You go too far.
Christine Keeler: You devil, you said. Never say not to a dare, you said. You took me to all the parties, you introduced me to everybody I know. I'm yours, Stephen. You pull the strings. I'm what you made me.
Stephen Ward: I'll ...
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

Three versions of the film are available on video:
  • the complete 114 min. unrated version
  • a slightly edited 111 min. unrated version
  • the heavily cut 105 min. R-rated version
See more »

Connections

Featured in Scala (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Blue Train
(uncredited)
Music by John Coltrane
See more »

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User Reviews

 
More Than Just a History Lesson
15 November 2006 | by aimless-46See all my reviews

If "Scandal" (1989) was not a fairly accurate recounting of Britain's John Profumo Affair, the characters and events would be too weird to be considered plausible fiction. Defense Minister Profumo's attempt to refute allegations of his involvement with Christine Keeler ultimately brought down the 10 year Conservative Party government back in the mid-1960's. "Scandal recreates these events and gives the viewer a glimpse into the personalities and possible motives of the main players in this political soap opera.

But recreating history is a secondary consideration in this film whose theme is about individuals who live in a fairy tale world until they fall victim to the grim forces that take life more seriously. The main player is Stephen Ward (John Hurt), a osteopath and recreational artist whose main goal is to be part of the right crowd, not so much immersed in this kind of society as in a position to observe it closely for his amusement. His method for doing so involves discovering ravishing young women from the poor side of town and doing a Henry Higgins number on them. The film begins with his discovery of Keeler (Joanne Whalley) who he begins grooming and introducing to prominent members of his in-crowd.

The two soon fall in love, but theirs is not a physical relationship. Stephen delights in seeing his protégé work her magic on men in authority. This eventually leads to their doom, since no one quite understands such an unconventional relationship they have no credibility when an attempt is made to make Stephen a scapegoat for the government scandal.

In retrospect the process of attacking Ward to contain the widening scandal was one of the two most shameful abuses of the judicial system in post war Britain. Coincidentally Hurt played the victim in the other one as well; "10 Rillington Place" (1971), in which Hurt is wrongly executed for a murder committed by his landlord, the now notorious serial killer John Christie.

"Scandal" is a powerful and arresting film with solid performances. Whalley has the biggest role and is a bit too intelligent looking to be completely believable as a character like Keeler. But she is so nice to look at that almost anyone would willingly trade credibility for scenery-and she is otherwise entirely convincing in an excellent performance. I first noticed her in "Willow", the film she made just before "Scandal". She had a secondary part but her scenes were the most memorable in the entire film. Hurt somehow sells you on the fact that his character derives an innocent joy from simply seeing a beautiful young woman walking down the street on a nice day.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.


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