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Friday, February 12, 2021

The Importance Of Being Earnest (1952)

In 1895 England, a country gentleman (Michael Redgrave) uses a different identity when in London and it is under this identity that he falls in love with a young lady (Joan Greenwood). Meanwhile, his best friend (Michael Denison) usurps this identity when visiting his friend's pretty ward (Dorothy Tutin) in the country. It's just a matter of time before their deceit is exposed. Based on the classic play by Oscar Wilde and directed by Anthony Asquith (PYGMALION). A faithful adaptation of Wilde's play, Asquith is blessed with a near perfect cast. Wilde's witty farce requires actors that can casually maneuver their tongues over his verbal acuity without punching the dialogue. This isn't Neil Simon. With one exception, the actors here glide (seemingly) effortlessly through Wilde's dry repartee. Edith Evans' performance as Lady Bracknell is near legendary and the benchmark for other actresses taking on the role. The one exception is Denison, who relies too heavily on smugness as his chief form of expression. With Margaret Rutherford and Miles Malleson.     

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