New Importance Not Ideal: A Remake of Oscar Wilde's Beguiling Comedy, the Importance of Being Earnest, Is Just That ... Too Earnest. (Film)

By Arnold, Gary | Insight on the News, July 1, 2002 | Go to article overview

New Importance Not Ideal: A Remake of Oscar Wilde's Beguiling Comedy, the Importance of Being Earnest, Is Just That ... Too Earnest. (Film)


Arnold, Gary, Insight on the News


Oliver Parker's 1999 film version of Oscar Wilde's play An Ideal Husband turned out so well that one expected something astute and delightful when the director turned his attention to the Victorian dramatist's most famous work, The Importance of Being Earnest. Alas, Parker's Earnest is a textbook example of what happens when a filmmaker refuses to let well enough alone.

A new movie version of this peerlessly sneaky, nonsensical romantic farce certainly was overdue. Anthony Asquith's 1952 film still has no competitors. One lifetime may not be sufficient to encounter a Lady Bracknell as awesome as Edith Evans' magnificent battle-ax, or a Gwendolen as smugly enchanting and vocally distinctive as Joan Greenwood's purring snob. Nevertheless, the idea of seeing a new troupe try its luck became more appealing as the original film approached its 50th anniversary.

The story goes like this: Algernon Moncrieff is the charming society sponger who poses as the notorious, nonexistent brother of his pal Jack Worthing, an eligible bachelor who values a facade of respectability and adores Algy's cousin, Gwendolen Fairfax. Jack has a starry-eyed ward named Cecily Cardew, who becomes intrigued by stories of the apocryphal brother, Ernest.

When Algy shows up at Jack's country home in Hertfordshire purporting to be Ernest, Cecily's romantic expectations are confirmed and the infatuation is mutual. The arrival of Gwendolen and her mother, Lady Bracknell, complicates Jack's and Algy's deception, but solutions are found that leave both love matches in a state of good repair.

Rupert Everett, a diffident tower of strength in An Ideal Husband, portrays Algy, with Colin Firth as Jack, Frances O'Connor as Gwendolen, Reese Witherspoon as Cecily and Judi Dench as Lady Bracknell. The middle-aged match of Rev. Chausible and Miss Prism, who have custody of Cecily's welfare during Jack's frequent trips to London, are played by Tom Wilkinson and Anna Massey, perhaps the happiest departure from the 1952 cast. Massey's sweet fragility provides a wistful contrast to the goodly, portly Prism of the inimitable Margaret Rutherford.

I think my fondness for the 1952 movie has little to do with the feeling of being let down by the current release. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

New Importance Not Ideal: A Remake of Oscar Wilde's Beguiling Comedy, the Importance of Being Earnest, Is Just That ... Too Earnest. (Film)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.