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The Admirable Crichton and Look Back in Anger
Stephen Lacey

historical period, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest (directed by Anthony Asquith in 1952). The Admirable Crichton does not signify ‘theatre’ in the way that Asquith’s film does in its opening sequence, but it offers an interesting intertextual reference to one of Wilde’s most famous characters. In Barrie’s play, Lady Brockenhurst, Mary’s prospective mother-in-law, appears only in the last

in British cinema of the 1950s
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Author: Tom Ryall

This is a comprehensive critical study of Anthony Asquith. The author sets the director's work in the context of British cinema from the silent period to the 1960s, and examines the artistic and cultural influences within which his films can be understood. Asquith's silent films were compared favourably to those of his eminent contemporary Alfred Hitchcock, but his career faltered during the 1930s. However, the success of Pygmalion (1938) and French Without Tears (1939), based on plays by George Bernard Shaw and Terence Rattigan respectively, together with his significant contributions to wartime British cinema, re-established him as one of Britain's leading film makers. Asquith's post-war career includes several pictures in collaboration with Rattigan, and the definitive adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest (1951), but his versatility is demonstrated effectively in a number of modest genre films including The Woman in Question (1950), The Young Lovers (1954) and Orders to Kill (1958).

Tom Ryall

This chapter sheds light on the post-war British film industry and the turn Asquith's career took during these times. He was well established as one of the British cinema's leading directors on the basis of a diverse output: the middlebrow drama adaptations of Shaw and Rattigan, lowbrow genre films including a comedy thriller and a costume melodrama, patriotic war pictures and documentary dramas. Asquith resumed his directing career with While the Sun Shines (1947), and his next film, The Winslow Boy (1948), was a Rattigan adaptation in which he corraborated with Korda's revived London Films and British Lion. The Importance of Being Earnest, a version of Oscar Wilde's famous play from the 1890s, was his first film in colour. Asquith's genre exercises from the early 1950s, though containing much of interest – innovatory narrative structures, imaginative mise-enscène, lyricism, and poetry, the radical ideological questioning of war – remain little-known films on the periphery of the mainstream British cinema of the time.

in Anthony Asquith
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Sam Rohdie

symetrically from the young wife of the painter and, as he finishes the portrait, brings it and her to life, she, in life, dies. But this ‘life’ is purely fictional, itself only a mirror and this lure and feint is infinite. In the case of the film, that mirror is in the Nana from Renoir and the Nana from Zola and the Anna (Karina) who is the model for the artist (Godard). Her death in the film (a Hawksian death) brings her to life like Stracci’s (and Christ’s) in Pasolini’s comedy, parody, blasphemy, La ricotta (1963). And of course it brings to life Oscar Wilde’s 1891

in Film modernism
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Brian Mcfarlane

Sarris, The American Cinema: Directors and Directions ig2g-ic)68 (New York, E. P. Dutton & Co), 1968. 2 Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, Act Two. 3 Steve Neale, Genre (London, BFI Publishing), 1980; Thomas Schatz, Hollywood Genres (New York), 1981

in Lance Comfort
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The ‘actor’s actor’?
Andrew Roberts

fantasy London, you can believe that Charlie genuinely and almost desperately craves the vase he saw in the British Museum as a child. Melanie Williams saw one of Finch’s strengths as an actor as bringing ‘the right combination of romantic self-deception and rueful realism to his characterisation of someone falling in love despite his better judgement’ ( 2005 : 130). This applies to Make Me an Offer as much as The Trials of Oscar Wilde (Ken Hughes 1960) or Girl with Green Eyes (Desmond Davies 1963). The point at which he finally encounters the vase is a moment of

in Idols of the Odeons
Rowland Wymer

). 19 Letter dated 18 February 1918, Wilfred Owen: Collected Letters , ed. Harold Owen and John Bell (1967), p. 533. 20 Jarman, Modern Nature , p. 234. 21 Oscar Wilde, Plays, Prose Writings and Poems , introduction by Isobel Murray (London: Everyman, 1975, reissued

in Derek Jarman
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Writing from the dark underground, 1976–92
Claire Nally

opportunities for the mixture of sacred and profane signifiers. Goths often ‘profane’ traditional religious iconography by using it for flagrantly stylistic rather than religious purposes.55 A similar negotiation of religion is discernible in Propaganda. The homoerotic overtones to Saint Sebastian in these images can be associated with this very same parodic homage to conventional faith, and this Goth zines -123- has a long history in relation to the saint. Oscar Wilde referred to Sebastian in a poem about John Keats, stating he was ‘Fair as Sebastian, and as early slain

in Ripped, torn and cut
Corin Redgrave

before so he wore his film clothes every day in the street, to see whether people behaved differently towards him when he was dressed in a cloth cap and heavy boots – a workman’s clothes – and of course he found that they did. He found, as Oscar Wilde said, that the poor are wiser, more charitable, kinder, more generous than we are, and he used some of that in his performance

in British cinema of the 1950s
Tom Ryall

’s sister, Kate (Cathleen Nesbitt) in Fanny by Gaslight, and has suggested that The Way to the Stars is ‘a fascinating study of the frailty of masculinity’.23 Asquith’s post-war work can also be drawn into the discussion with the hopelessly repressed Crocker-Harris in The Browning Version, Oscar Wilde and The Importance of Being Earnest, with its deceptions and double-life theme, and The Young Lovers, a film described by Bourne as ‘a glorious, passionate plea for the understanding of forbidden love’, and comparable to Brief Encounter in its susceptibility to a gay reading

in Anthony Asquith