Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Wilde night on the box

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of Oscar Wilde's birth, Australian broadcaster SBS is screening a documentary on him, followed by the film Wilde. They'll be on at 9.30 and 10.35pm respectively this Sunday, October 16th. Ladies and gentlemen, start your VCRs! Below is the SMH preview from October 10th by Doug Anderson.

Wilde (1997)

SBS, 10.35pm

The bons mots flow freely as British comedian Stephen Fry portrays the acerbic playwright in a well-made bioflick. Earlier films about Oscar Wilde, featuring Robert Morley and Peter Finch, were made at a time when frank depiction - let alone acceptance - of homosexuality was not possible. This is much more forthright, picking up on Wilde's activities as he undertakes a year-long lecture tour of the United States in 1882. Fry looks the part and plays it to good effect. At this juncture Oscar is not yet "out" - maintaining his marriage to Constance (Jennifer Ehle). But the tipping point arrives when a gay Canadian, Robbie Ross, invites Wilde to take a walk on the, er, wild side and embark upon a life of contradiction, contravention and controversy. This leads to his disastrous infatuation with a ravishing young poet, Alfred (Bosie) Douglas (Jude Law), son of the repulsive Marquis of Queensberry. It's solid and attractive fare with interesting women playing a significant role in counterpointing both the bohemian and homophobic elements. Vanessa Redgrave plays Wilde's mother, Gemma Jones features as Bosie's mother, Judy Parfitt as Lady Mount-Temple and Zoe Wanamaker as the playwright's liberal-minded confidante, Ada.

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