The Trials of Oscar Wilde  

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"A fine spectacle you are, sir, fawning and crawling round this fellow, Wilde, like some damn little lapdog."--father of Lord Douglas to his son in The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1960)

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Trials of Oscar Wilde is a 1960 British film based on the libel and subsequent criminal cases involving Oscar Wilde and the Marquess of Queensberry. It was produced by Irving Allen, written by Allen and Ken Hughes and directed by Hughes, Albert R. Broccoli and Harold Huth from a screenplay by Ken Hughes and Montgomery Hyde (and his book The Trials of Oscar Wilde), based on the play The Stringed Lute by John Furnell. The film was made by Warwick Films and released by United Artists.

This was one of two films about Wilde released in 1960, the other being Oscar Wilde. They both hit the theatres in the last week of May.





In his review of the film, Bosley Crowther wrote: "Mr. Wilde himself could not have expected his rare personality or his unfortunate encounters with British justice on a morals charge to have been more sympathetically or affectingly dramatized. In comparison to that other British picture about the same subject that opened [in New York City] last week, this one is more impressive in every respect, save one." Crowther concludes the review saying "The only thing is you wonder if this is a fairly true account, if Mr. Wilde was as noble and heroic as he is made to appear. And if he was, what was he doing with those cheap and shady young men? It looks to us as if they are trying to whitewash a most unpleasant case, which is one of the more notorious and less ennobling in literary history."

Variety magazine, commenting on the performances, said "Peter Finch gives a moving and subtle performance as the ill-starred playwright. Before his downfall he gives the man the charm that he undoubtedly had....John Fraser as handsome young Lord Alfred Douglas is suitably vain, selfish, vindictive and petulant and the relationship between the two is more understandable. Where Trials suffers in comparison with the B&W film is in the remarkable impact of the libel case court sequence. James Mason never provides the strength and bitter logic necessary for the dramatic cut-and-thrust when Wilde is in the witness box."


(uncredited) Music by Johann Strauss Over the Waves (uncredited) Music by Juventino Rosas


The film was the inspiration for a promotional film made for the Rolling Stones song "We Love You"; the 1967 film, directed by Peter Whitehead, featured Mick Jagger as Wilde, Keith Richards as the Marquis, and Marianne Faithfull as Bosie.

See also

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