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Great Performances The Importance of Being Earnest (1971– ) HD online

Great Performances The Importance of Being Earnest (1971– ) HD online
Language: English
Category: TV Episode / Music
Original Title: The Importance of Being Earnest
Director: Michael Attenborough,Michael Lindsay-Hogg
Writers: Oscar Wilde
Released: 1971–
Duration: 1h 54min
Video type: TV Episode
In 1890s London, two friends use the same pseudonym ("Ernest") for their on-the-sly activities. Hilarity ensues.
Episode cast overview:
Wendy Hiller Wendy Hiller - Lady Bracknell
Gary Bond Gary Bond - John Worthing, JP
Jeremy Clyde Jeremy Clyde - Algernon Moncrieff
Gabrielle Drake Gabrielle Drake - Gwendolen Fairfax
Ann Thornton Ann Thornton - Cecily Cardew
Rosamund Greenwood Rosamund Greenwood - Miss Prism
Henry Moxon Henry Moxon - Rev Canon Chasuble
Alan Hay Alan Hay - Lane
Sydney Arnold Sydney Arnold - Merriman
David Matthews David Matthews - Footman

The premiere Broadway production of "The Importance of Being Earnest" opened at the Lyceum Theater (New York City) on April 22, 1895, ran for 12 performances and has been revived in New York City eight times since as of 2010.

This episode takes place in 1895.

Reviews: [5]

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    I was lucky enough to tape this when it aired on TV and have rewatched it many times since. Wendy Hiller is a magnificent Lady Bracknell, making all the more funny the scene where Gwendolyn turns into her mama. I'm especially fond of Jeremy Clyde as Algy. Cecily and Gwendolyn play off well against Algy and Jack. Watch for the back and forth dialogue in unison between the pairs! I wish they would make it commercially available, my VHS tape won't last forever. I saw several other programs at the same time that were also excellent and I think are not commercially available--and should be! I'm thinking of 'On the Razzle' starring Felicity Kendall in a male role, and a performance of a Shakespeare play by jugglers (I think the Flying Karamazovs?) that had me literally rolling on the floor and pounding my fists on the rug.
  • avatar

    felt boot

    This play filmed for TV is without doubt the most charming version of any available attempts. It has the air of a play, which may bother movie purists, but the dialog is smooth, and the acting natural; with the witty pronouncements of Oscar Wilde sliding smoothly into what would appear to be ordinary conversation. I have a partial copy filmed from PBS, but it is missing the dagger sharp interchange between Cecily and Gwendolyn, plus another 20 minutes in the center of the play. I've been trying to get a copy of this film since 1988, which, at the end of 2004, seems like a long, long time. What amazes me is that it does not seem to be for sale!
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    Wendy Hiller celebrated the 50th anniversary of her movie debut (as Liza Doolittle in "Pygmalion") with this hysterical performance as Lady Bracknell. It's a filmed-for-TV stage production rather than a movie as such. It doesn't seem available anywhere -- a real loss for comedy fans.
  • avatar


    Oscar Wilde's most famous play is best known via the excellent 1950s version with Michael Redgrave, Michael Denison, and Edith Evans, and that film is still the benchmark by which other productions must stand or fall.

    Aside from the modern version with Colin Firth, Rupert Everett, and Judi Dench (which misfires badly), the only other version widely available is a truncated one with Paul McGann, Rupert Frazer, and Joan Plowright, which is OK, but not that memorable.

    That leaves this version, actually made in 1981 (confirmed by the copyright date at the end) but released in 1985 to television.

    Heading the cast is the great Wendy Hiller as Lady Bracknell, who manages to make the old witch even seem likable in places and who speaks the lines beautifully, with Gary Bond note-perfect as Jack Worthing (in turn pompous, ridiculous, charming, and hysterical), and Jeremy Clyde as Algy Moncrieff, a frightfully silly gentleman who loves nothing more than escaping to the country for a 'Bunbury' (i.e. a great adventure).

    Highly recommended and great fun - it is a shame this production isn't more easily available.
  • avatar


    Preparing to audition for the role of Lady Bracknell I recently viewed clips of various professional productions on Utube. The hands down best was this one. Both the over all production and the marvelously nuanced performance of Wendy Hiller as Lady Bracknell. So today I returned to my computer to watch some more scenes and every trace of it had been removed from Utube due to "multiple complaints of copyright infringement". I'm bereft. And now I discover the video is a real rarity - not available for purchase and much coveted by many others who loved it as much as I. Don't know how long those illicit clips were on view but I feel lucky to have seen the ones that I did. Wondering if anyone knows more about the posting and removal of the videos and, of course, where I can buy it or get to see it again'. Thanks