Oscar Wilde’s comic jewel sparkles in Anthony Asquith’s film adaptation of The Importance of Being Earnest. Featuring brilliantly polished performances by Michael Redgrave, Joan Greenwood, and Dame Edith Evans, the enduringly hilarious story of two young women who think themselves engaged to the same nonexistent man is given the grand Technicolor treatment. Seldom has a classic stage comedy been so engagingly transferred to the screen. —The Criterion Collection
For two decades, Anthony Asquith was — along with Alfred Hitchcock, David Lean, and Carol Reed — one of the most internationally successful filmmakers to come out of England. So much of his career was spent adapting plays to the screen, however, that his critical recognition was somewhat limited in his own lifetime and for many years after, and it was only in the 21st century that his movies began getting the respect they deserved. Born in 1902, Asquith was the youngest child of Herbert Henry Asquith (1852-1928), who served as British prime minister from 1908 to 1916. Anthony Asquith was known to friends by the nickname “Puffin,” given him by his mother. He had an avid interest in music as a boy, but conceded a severe lack of talent as a musician; in its place, he discovered the emerging new art of cinema, which fascinated him. As a young man, Asquith, in turn, played a pivotal but indirect role in the development of motion picture arts in England by co-founding the London Film Society… read more
Just can't imagine the play's adaptation to be different. Absolutely perfect and thoroughly enjoyable.
I suppose that you really have to be in the mood for such movies. True that actors are really good, true that Oscar Wilde's dialogues are exquisite and true that Edith Evans' (by the way, check out Bryan Forbes' THE WHISPERERS with this great lady) performance is terrific. Nonetheless, you really have to be in the mood to see and appreciate this kind of film. And I was not. I should have seen a giallo instead.