With Rupert Everett’s interpretation of Oscar Wilde’s life ‘The Happy Prince’ due for release in UK cinemas soon, we’re celebrating our favourite screen adaptations of the famous author’s life and works.
Stephen Fry plays in the title role in this infamous adaptation of the author’s life. The film particularly examines Wilde’s tumultuous relationship with Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas (Jude Law) and his ultimate exclusion from conservative upper class Victorian society.
An Ideal Husband (1999)
Oliver Parker’s adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s 1895 comedic stage play follows the story of Sir Robert Chiltern, whose seemingly perfect life is unexpectedly disturbed when a former acquaintance returns to London with damning evidence of his previous misdeeds. Starring Rupert Everett, Cate Blanchett and Julianne Moore, this is a satirical portrait of the upper class and its hypocrisy.
The Importance of Being Earnest (2002)
Colin Firth and Rupert Everett star as friends Worthing and Montcrieff, who decide to create a shared pseudonym, ‘Ernest’, so that they can lead double lives, switching personalities and obligations at whim. A farcical comedy of manners, the story is another satire on Victorian mores, and features plenty of that trademark Wildean wit.
Pact with the Devil (2002)
A modern retelling of Oscar Wilde’s only novel A Picture of Dorian Gray, Ethan Erickson stars as Louis/Dorian in this provocative thriller. After being discovered by a famous Fashion Photographer, Louis’s beauty is thrust into the limelight, forcing him to make a drastic choice between morality and youth.
A Good Woman (2004)
Set by the Amalfi Coast in the 1930s, Mike Barker’s adaptation of Wilde’s play Lady Windermere’s Fan follows the newlywed Windermere couple, whose marriage is threatened by rumours that Robert Windermere (Mark Umbers) had an illicit affair with Mrs Erlynne (Helen Hunt). An exciting spin on Wilde’s complex social commentary, this is another showcase for Wilde’s infamous aphorisms.
Dorian Gray (2009)
Oliver Parker’s third adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s literary works stays true to the original text. Set in Victorian London, the film follows the story of the youthful and good looking Dorian Gray, who wishes for the eternal preservation of his beauty. As his hedonism and immorality begins to grow, Dorian finds himself unable to escape the reality of his true self.
Wilde Salomé (2011)
Directed by and starring Al Pacino, this documentary-drama follows the actor’s project to stage a production of Wilde’s once-banned play ‘Salomé’. Pacino’s documentary not only shows his interpretation of the play, but also the actor’s obsession with Wilde, and his journey to understand the author’s passion for the story of Salomé.
The Selfish Giant (2013)
Inspired by Wilde’s short story The Selfish Giant, this modern retelling explores the lives of two teenage boys from a working class communities in Bradford. After being excluded from school both start selling scrap copper to a local dealer ‘Kitten’. However, as the two boys are drawn further into Kitten’s criminal world, they begin to face dire consequences.
The Happy Prince (2018)
Rupert Everett directed and stars in this biographical drama exploring Wilde’s final isolated years. Following his release from a two year prison sentence for ‘gross indecency’, the film follows Wilde’s reunion with friends and lovers from his past, as he determines to rediscover the beauty of life despite his failing health and exclusion from society.
‘The Happy Prince’ will be available in UK cinemas from 15th June 2018
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