Oscar Wilde (1960): Biopic of Brilliant, Scandalous Author, Starring

Gregory Ratoff directed Oscar Wilde, a biopic of the brilliant, famous, and notorious British writer, made by Vantage Films and released in the U.S. by Fox.

Jo Eisinger’s script is based on the play “Oscar Wilde,” penned by Leslie Stokes and Sewell Stokes.

Robert Morley, who plays the titular role, narrates the tale, which chronicles selective episodes of the author’s life.   Attention is paid to Wilde’s troubled relationship with his father, his wife (played by Phyllis Calvert), and his companion-lover Lord Alfred Douglas (John Neville).

The second half is mostly set within the courtroom, depicting Wilde’s infamous trial and its consequences.

The seduction scene, in which Wilde tried to pick up a newspaper boy on a London street, was cut from the final version.

The original music score was composed by Kenneth Jones.

This was one of two films about Wilde released in 1960, the other being The Trials of Oscar Wilde. Unfortunately, both were released at the same time, end of May.  Due to its low budget and other shortcomings, the film was unfavorably compared with the other, lavish wide-screen technicolor version, starring Peter Finch.

Robert Morley as Oscar Wilde
Ralph Richardson as Sir Edward Carson
Phyllis Calvert as Constance Wilde
John Neville as Lord Alfred Douglas
Alexander Knox as Sir Edward Clarke

End Note:

TCM presented this rarely seen film on April 25, 2019.