Peter Finch delivers a bravura performance (for which he won a BAFTA Award) as the flamboyant Irish poet-playwright. The story, based largely on court records, recounts Wilde’s sodomy trial stemming from his love affair with Lord Douglas (John Fraser). Sentenced to five years in prison, the once-celebrated writer finds his reputation — and his spirit — shattered. The movie also won a Golden Globe for Best English-Language Foreign Film.
Ken Hughes (1922-2001) b. Liverpool, England. Associated with the film industry for over fifty years, Hughes was a television playwright and novelist. Most of his films were crime thrillers, including a bizarre version of Macbeth transposed to American gangland, Joe Macbeth (1955). The success of The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1960) with Peter Finch led to bigger-budget projects. His most ambitious work was Cromwell (1970), in which the dictator of the Commonwealth was seen as a seventeenth-century Castro, leading his freedom fighters. Hughes did score back-to-back successes with the bond spoof Casino Royale (1967) and Disney’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). Later he directed Alfie Darling (1975), a 70s sex-comedy follow-up to the Oscar-nominated Alfie (1966). —britmovie.co.uk