Any dramatic rendition of Oscar Wilde's life is graced by having most of the witty lines written by Oscar himself. Julian Mitchell's screenplay is a marvel of composition and compression, charting Wilde's fall from the dizzying heights of social success and artistic fame to the abyss of infamy and disgrace--a modern Greek tragedy peppered with epigrammatic wit and a keen sense of sexual politics.
Mitchell begins Wilde's story as the writer's fame is nearing its apex, and takes him through the wildly successful years as a playwright, followed by the scandal, the trials and the imprisonment. Striking a perfect balance between his subject's personal life and public humiliations, and between wit and weariness, Mitchell captures a remarkable sense of the man without ever losing sight of the social and political context in which he lived, flourished, and suffered. The screenplay is accompanied with beautifully reproduced stills from the film and complete cast and technical credits as well as an witty, informed introduction by the film's eponymous star, novelist/actor Stephen Fry. --Michael Bronski
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