Jump to content

Peter Finch as Oscar Wilde


Recommended Posts

Don't delay, download this full movie of The Trials of Oscar Wilde starring Peter Finch (Also known as 'The Man with the Green Carnation')

<iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/EB44yFPJM6k" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Should be seen by every gay person and LGBTQ activist.

Generally considered as being instrumental in making the tragedy of Oscar Wilde well known, it also stirred the rumblings that would eventually change the law in the UK.

The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best English-Language Foreign Film. Peter Finch won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and the film also received four other BAFTA nominations including Best British Film, Best Film from any source and for John Fraser as Best British Actor.

I showed this film as a young 20 year old assistant projectionist back in 1960.

It was so life affirming to me, It was the film that made me realise that being gay was something worth fighting for. I loved it then and I love it´╗┐ still.

Here in Australia it was released under the title of The Man with Green Carnation, so that it would not be confused with the Robert Morley film Oscar Wilde.

Link to comment

Yes! I saw this movie many years ago on television and I liked it. I will have to watch it again because I don't remember enough to compare it to the Stephen Fry version from the late 90's, which I loved.

I noticed in the credits the name of Ian Fleming among the guest stars. Not THE Ian Fleming, was he? And, the producer was Albert Brocolli, of the Bond movies? How interesting.

Link to comment

It would seem that younger people, who have first contact with Wilde's life through the Stephen Fry version, actually rate it more highly.

Perhaps it is generational, but it must be understood that the Peter Finch version was a deliberately 'romanticised' even if atmospherically accurate telling of the Wilde disaster. It was a wonder it was made at all, but at the time there were tales that the British government was suffering acute guilt for incarcerating the "reincarnation of Shakespeare," and were said to be funding anyone who wanted to make a film, play or story about Oscar.

There is also the fact that at the time the film was made, Oscar had only been dead for less than 60 years and his son (Vyvyan) and Lord Queesnberry's descendants were consultants on the screenplay.

Pitching the Fry version against the Finch is really to miss the relevant effect of seeing how, when a movie is made, it is also an historical comment on the time in which it is made. The Robert Morley version, made at the same time as the Peter Finch one, is much less sympathetic to Wilde, but not as entertaining, though possibly more accurate sans romantic. Viewing the history of a bygone era and its figures is always done through the lens of the present.

In these films about Wilde we can get some idea of his life and times, but nothing really gives the insight into the horrors he suffered until you have read his missive to Lord Alfred Douglas called Des Profundis.

I know of nothing more despairing in all literature, but the tragedy Des Profundis reveals is not merely Oscar Wilde's, it belongs to everyone who has ever suffered their hopes and dreams being ripped from their reality, stomped on by brute bullies, and by the course of inhuman events, some of which are of our own making.

If you really want to understand the significance of Oscar Wilde's life and trials, then you owe it to yourself and to anyone who has ever attempted to find answers on this rock, to read Des Profundis. Just have a box of tissues handy. The sense of loss and despair is mind-numbing, but make sure you get the full version. (No earlier than 1949).

I have just discovered that someone has posted a reading of DesProfundis on YouTube in seven parts. An initial quick listen leaves an impression of competence. It appears to be the full version with a short introduction. I recommend it.

There are some homophobic (?) criticisms of De Profundis on the Net. I can only advise that they inevitably miss the pathos of truth.

Yes, FreeThinker that was The Ian Fleming, and Brocolli of Bond fame.

As an aside and perhaps also of interest, was a 1983 Australian play called Cobra by Justin Fleming (not related as far as I know) which was a fictional piece in which Lord Alfred Douglas as an old man reminisces, distorts and reveals his earlier relationship with Oscar.

As Bruin comments below, that should read De Profundis, not Des Profundis. I'm not going to correct the above post because as Bruin says, it's a wonderful Freudian slip.

Link to comment

It is surprising the film was made at that time and it is rather heroic of the producers and the studio. At the time, homosexuality was a criminal offence in the UK. In 1954, over a thousand men were in prison for engaging in private, consensual homosexual behavior. After several prominent men were convicted of the "offence," a committee led by Lord Wolfenden met to study the laws and the "offence" and concluded in a report released on September 4, 1957, (two weeks before I was born), that it should be decriminalized. It was, eventually, in I think 1966.

There was another movie made about a homosexual politician played by Dirk Bogarde, who was himself gay, that came out the year after The Man with the Green Carnation, called Victim, which produced quite a stir, as well. I also saw this on our local PBS channel a few years ago, which produced in the nineties quite a protest from the Christians in Oklahoma who hated that taxpayer money was promoting homosexuality by broadcasting this film. Sometimes progress is slow and fitful.

Link to comment

I love it! Yep, Freud was very fond of his slips, especially the lace ones.

I have no excuse, I knew better, especially as I researched my post. That's just hysterically funny. Thanks Bruin. :hug:

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...