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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
It has been alleged that many British actors and actresses turned down roles in the movie because the subject could have cost them knighthoods and other honors. However, Sir Ian McKellen, already a CBE, was knighted in 1991, two years after this movie was made, and became a Companion of Honour in 2008. Leslie Phillips was awarded the OBE in 1998 and promoted to a CBE in 2008, while Sir John Hurt was awarded a CBE in 2004 and knighted in 2015. See more »
When Christine arrives at Heathrow from Spain after the scandal breaks, a modern illuminated sign is in the background as she walks from the gate. See more »
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.
You go too far.
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.
I'll drop ...
[...] See more »
Upon its original UK release, the chief censor at the BBFC claimed to be able to see a couple in the background of an orgy scene who were actually having sex on top of a piano. Although the footage was not clear enough to confirm this, the scene had to be optically blurred to cover up the offending genitalia! See more »
I saw this for the first time last night on Channel 4. I've never sought out the film before because I assumed that it would be an uninvolved telling of an uninteresting piece of British history. I was wrong.
The piece works on several levels, as they say. First, the period evocation is excellent. I became interested in this era after reading an interesting book on slum landlord Peter Rachmann a few years back (he is a minor character here). Christine Keeler was a figure who inhabited both the pot and ska parties of London's impoverished immigrant community and the bedrooms of the most powerful men in the land, and this breadth and contrast gives the film sufficient scope to successfully capture the energy and feel of the time.
Second, the handling of character development is exemplary. The film surprises you by gradually shading in the relationship between Keeler and Stephen Ward, until their completely believable 'love affair' becomes the focus in the moving finale. Joanne Whalley and John Hurt are both exceptional as Keeler and Ward, turning in subtle and detailed performances. These characters are contradictory and ambiguous, the kind of complex human beings who could quite easily be reduced to type by lesser actors.
Third, the film is made with real heart and intelligence. It is sympathetic to its characters and it strives to understand them, and thus help us to understand them. The director, Michael Caton-Jones frames and cuts with brilliant understatement, making potent and witty use of contemporary music throughout. I really didn't expect the seamless technique and low-key accretion of detail employed here, and it kept me fascinated.
The tone of the picture is just right. A kind of compassionate sadness. We come to feel the real injustice of the moral and social hypocrisy bought to bear without being assaulted by it, and as noted before, the ending is powerful and affecting. It would appear that tabloid scumbags were as pernicious an influence then as they are now, and the observations thereon are as relevant as ever.
If I had to find fault with the film, it would be this: Ian McKellen models perhaps the least convincing bald pate in the history of cinema as John Profumo. So much so, that, for me, it impacts negatively on his otherwise notable performance. Its a minor flaw all told.
I was surprised. I was impressed. I was moved. If you happen upon the film, sit down and watch it. You will be rewarded.
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