An Ideal Husband/A-,A
room comedy from the Oscar Wilde play directed and adapted by Oliver Parker. Parker seems to find
his stride after tripping over Othello in his directing debut. Droll dialog makes listening
as important as watching this very fine comedy.
|This beauty really digs
season of London politics as debate rages in papers and Parliament over possible funding of
Argentine canal. Meanwhile, the social scene is dominated by the clever ramblings of Lord Goring,
whose vacuous life observations are the delight of London society. Goring is the lynchpin as
politics, sex, social climbing and scandal clash in the posh drawing rooms of upper crust Britain.
What moral transgressions lie is the path of progress and political ambition? Does every man have a
past and who is truly pure of heart. An Ideal Husband explores these questions in rhythms of
farcical whimsy honed with an edge of self-knowing satire.
Rupert Everett is outstanding in the role of Lord Goring, the
confidant of Lord and Lady Chiltern. Jeremy Northram as Chiltern, bringing a hint of Robert Donat
to his political demeanor, stands up handsomely to the jibes of Everett and Cate Blanchett gives
another grand performance as Chiltern's lily white wife. The wonderful surprise is Julianne Moore
as Mrs. Cheveley. Moore's entrance on the social scene sets the drawing rooms on end and Moore
captures the screen with an incandescent and mischievous magic. A far cry from the space cadets
typically assayed on film by the talented actress.
Director and writer Parker keeps the action moving from carriage rides in
the park to ball rooms to boudoirs. The timing is excellent, with few lags between delights and
happy twists and turns. Production design from Michael Howells is extraordinary. Sumptuous
sets are filled with period details that bring Victorian England to grand life. Caroline Harris's
costumes are dazzling and David Johnson captures it all beautifully on camera.
An outstanding transfer, An Ideal Husband
is alive with glorious detail as crisp as any I've seen on DVD. Take a gander at all that jewelry.
Each pearl is finely delineated. The magnificent carpets are ablaze in complex color patters
without bleeding onto each other. Even the score adds a droll note or two to the proceedings.
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