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The Importance Of Being Earnest [DVD]


Price: £19.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Michael Redgrave, Richard Wattis, Michael Denison, Walter Hudd, Edith Evans
  • Directors: Anthony Asquith
  • Writers: Anthony Asquith, Oscar Wilde
  • Producers: Anthony Asquith, Earl St. John, Teddy Baird
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.37:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Carlton
  • DVD Release Date: 8 Oct 1999
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CZVL
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 67,761 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Anthony Asquith directs the first screen adaptation of Oscar Wilde's classic comedy. Algernon Moncrieff (Michael Denison) has discovered that he has a secret in common with his friend Jack Worthing (Michael Redgrave) - they both use alter-egos when in a tight spot. However, when Algernon decides to pose as Jack's alter-ego - a brother from London - for a weekend in the country, he finds that Jack's cousin Cicely (Dorothy Tutin) has developed an infatuation with the mysterious brother; and now she can meet him. Meanwhile, Algernon's cousin Gwendolyne (Joan Greenwood) is also staying for the weekend and knows Jack as his alter-ego. Confused?

From Amazon.co.uk

If you're looking for the definitive example of dry wit, look no further than this 1952 version of The Importance of Being Earnest. Of course, it helps to have Oscar Wilde's beloved play as source material, but this exquisite adaptation has a charmed life of its own, with a perfectly matched director and a once-in-a-lifetime cast. Mix these ingredients with Wilde's inimitable repartee, and you've got a comedic soufflé that's cooked to perfection. Opening with a proscenium nod to its theatrical origins, the film turns Wilde's comedy of clever deception and mixed identities into a cinematic treat, and while the 10-member cast is uniformly superb, special credit must be given to Dame Edith Evans, reprising her stage role as the imperiously stuffy Lady Bracknell. To hear her Wilde-ly hilarious inflections and elongated syllables is to witness British comedy in its purest form. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 May 2003
Format: DVD
Asquith's is a superb adaption of Oscar Wilde's very funny comedy. The film is undoubtedly worth a 5 star rating, but unfortunately the sound of the main feature is extremely muffled (at least there are subtitles for the hearing impaired!). This is despite the claim on the front cover that the film has been "digitally remastered". It's really, really hard to follow the dialogue, something which is essential in Wilde's case, given his penchant for witty repartee.By contrast, the sound of the very good special feature -- the documentary 'A Profile of the Importance of Being Earnest' -- is excellent, including the clips from the film itself featured in the documentary. Clearly the clips from the film featured in the documentary must have been remastered.Unfortunately I cannot recommend this particular DVD in good conscience because of the poor sound that mars the main feature.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By highwayman on 29 May 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There as no trouble with the ordering and delivery of the disc; it was well up to your usual standard. I was a little disappointed with the quality of the re-mastering of the film. There is considerable fluctuation in the colour shade and the sound is not clear. I realise that the film is of some age and that there would be difficulty in the re-processing but I thought it would be possible to have achieved a better result. It is a fairly expensive disc. The film, of course, is first rate.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Ms. H. Sinton on 23 Jun 2005
Format: DVD
This 1952 version of the Oscar Wilde classic romantic is as good to watch today as it ever was. Michael Redgrave stars as Ernest Worthing, (whose name, in fact, is really John), a man who, as a baby, had been found in a bag in the cloakroom at Victoria Station. The story is a comedy of errors and confusions around names, in particular the name Ernest. Mr Worthing wants to marry Gwendoline, daughter of the formidable Lady Bracknell. He dare not tell his beloved that his name is not really Ernest as she has expressed a desire only to wed a man of that name. Gwendoline's cousin, Algernon, is pursuing Mr Worthing's ward, Cecily, but she does not know his real name, she believes he is called Ernest. The comedy starts when Cecily and Gwendoline meet for the first time and realise they are both betrothed to 'Ernest Worthington'. The film stars Margaret Rutherford as Miss Prism and Dame Edith Evans as the snobbish Lady Bracknell. Both actresses play their roles extremely well, as you would expect from such grand dames of the stage.
There are a few extras on this DVD (region 2 version) which include a profile of 'The Importance of Being Earnest', a 'behind the scenes' gallery, a theatrical trailer and biographies of the main actors and the director. The picture is crystal clear and the colours bright. Sound quality is good and there are subtitles for the hard of hearing. All in all, a very good version of one of Wilde's best known and loved works.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By j6_40 on 22 Mar 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Having now tested 4 copies (2011-2012) of this network edition of the 1952 film, one direct from amazon.co.uk and three others (one a replacement copy) from amazon marketplace sellers, I can only warn others not to waste their money on it.
I bought the DVDs for friends learning English and only discovered how bad the sound was when I had one sent direct to myself. I have since sent all four copies back. One friend assumed the problem was her insufficient knowledge of English. Far from it!
I seriously question whether those giving this network edition 5-star reviews (sometimes merely recounting the story or praising the cast, etc.) have ever even watched it!
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Vasco Almeida on 25 Jun 2004
Format: DVD
This play has long been a family favourite, and we have enjoyed the cassette version countless times. Those who produced this DVD, with its shameful sound, have shown an utter lack of respect for consumers and, more important still, for that work of art and those who have lovingly acted it out.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By DM on 5 Aug 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This 1952 film is superb, really witty, clever and engaging and I was looking forward to adding a copy to my collection - however the sound and picture quality of the DVD copy that I received was atrocious, muffled with terrible sound that I needed to increase the volume four times usual just to hear it and really poor colour quality - not happy!
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A. J. W. Daglish on 10 Sep 2009
Format: DVD
Wilde's play is possibly the peak of perfection of its style - witty, mildly cynical, gently satirical and very, very stylish. Every now and then somebody manages to produce absolute perfection in casting in a film or play, and this is a prime specimen! Not a weak link from the big parts - Algy and Jack - down to the more-or-less one-liner domestics. It's not just the brilliant glitter of the text, it's what a superb cast does with it, gratefully, gleefully seizing on the material and whanging it out to the audience with gusto, panache and consummate subtlety. Not a kitchen sink in sight -- after all, Gwendolen assures us that she's never seen a spade!
All very artificial, yes, but that's just the surface - everything has an underlying human credibility, which is the very soul of comedy. What more could one ask?
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Sep 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Most famous for Edith Evans' delivery of THAT handbag line, this is a superb adaptation of one of Wilde's best plays.
The farcical quality is wonderfully handled and the casting is fantastic. Edith Evans was perfect for Lady Bracknell, as was Margaret Rutherford for Miss Prism.
Get it, have a laugh and watch it over and over. Each time you see it, you spot something new!
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