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Her true feelings come out only in an aside that Cecily supposedly cannot hear: "Detestable girl!
Despite his aristocratic background, Puffin chose to dress like an electrician.
For almost thirty years, his costume on the set was a boiler suit (actually his WWII British Home Guard uniform) with a leather belt around the waist, and a handkerchief that Mary Pickford gave him in 1919 sticking out of his pocket (he eventually stopped washing it for fear it would disintegrate).
Redgrave’s Jack lights up the Technicolor screen in this rare comic performance. Joan Greenwood’s plummy-voiced Gwendolyn is one of the great comic treasures of the cinema.
So is the Cecily of the beauteous, and tragically underused, Dorothy Tutin, in her screen debut. But all their brilliance pales in the presence of the woman who was the century’s definitive Lady Bracknell: Dame Edith Evans.
Gwendolen's aristocratic attitude is "In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity is the vital thing." The trivial is important; the serious is overlooked.
The tea ceremony in Act II is a hilarious example of Wilde's contention that manners and appearance are everything. Both women, thinking they are engaged to the same person, wage a civilized "war" over the tea service while the servants silently watch.How many film directors can give as their earliest address 10 Downing Street, London?Puffin Asquith was the youngest son of Herbert Asquith (Britain’s prime minister from 1909–1916), and his socialite wife Margot (of whom Dorothy Parker said, “The love affair between Margot Asquith and Margot Asquith is a joy to behold”).Where did the actress and her role go separate ways? Asquith had considerable difficulties getting Dame Edith to hit her marks on the set.In her loftiest tones, she replied, “I don’t know what it is, but I always feel the camera should come to me instead of me go to the camera.” And when the U. distributors said American audiences wouldn’t know what a perambulator was, Puffin was forced to ask Dame Edith to loop “baby carriage” as a substitute.And let us not forget the tyrannical Lady Bracknell, the impediment to all the lovers’ happiness.The play has been brought to the screen lovingly and meticulously by one of the great eccentrics of the British cinema, Anthony “Puffin” Asquith (1902-1968).Wilde wonderfully complicates matters by having Algernon’s cousin Gwendolyn fall in love with Ernest (not knowing he is Jack) and setting off to the country for a surprise visit.This, of course, all occurs on the day Jack, determined to end the now-dangerous charade, arrives at his country home dressed in black to mourn Ernest’s passing.Wilde gives examples again and again of the aristocrat's concern for propriety, that everything is done properly no matter what those good manners might be camouflaging.The Absence of Compassion Two areas in which the Victorians showed little sympathy or compassion were illness and death.