The Happy Prince (2018)

The Happy Prince
Director: Rupert Everett
Writer: Rupert Everett
Cast: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Colin Morgan, Emily Watson, Anna Chancellor, Tom Wilkinson, Béatrice Dalle, Edwin Thomas
Seen on: 6.6.2018

Oscar Wilde (Rupert Everett) has been through hell and he knows that he won’t make it much longer. Reflecting on some of the most important relationships in his life – with his wife Constance (Emily Watson), his great love Alfred Bosie (Colin Morgan), his friend Robbie Ross (Edwin Thomas) – he keeps returning to one question: how did things end up the way they did?

Oscar Wilde is a fascinating figure and looking at the darker moments of his life is certainly interesting. Unfortunately, the way the story is told in this film doesn’t work at all. In fact, it’s pretty bad.

Film poster for The Happy Prince (2018), showing Rupert Everett as Oscar Wilde and Colin Morgan as Alfred Bosie Douglas walking down some steps in the sunshine.
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Идеальный муж. Комедия [An Ideal Husband. Comedy]

Идеальный муж. Комедия
Director: Konstantin Bogomolov
Writer: Konstantin Bogomolov
Based on: Oscar Wilde‘s An Ideal Husband and The Picture of Dorian Gray, as well as Anton Chekhov‘s Three Sisters, Johann Wolfgang Goethe‘s Faust and William Shakespeare‘s Romeo and Juliet
Cast: Nadezhda Borisova, Andrei Burkovsky, Rosa Khairullina, Svetlana Kolpakova, Alexei Kravchenko, Maxim Matveev, Igor Mirkurbanov, Darya Moros, Vasily Nemirovich-Danchenko, Yana Osipova, Artyom Panchik, Vladimir Panchik, Aleksandr Semchev, Marina Sudina, Pavel Chinarev, Sergei Chonishvili, Pavel Vashchilin
Part of: Wiener Festwochen
Seen on: 27.5.2016

Lord (Igor Mirkurbanov) is a famous Russian singer, about to be honored for his life’s work in the Kremlin. The prize is delivered by his friend Robert (Alexei Kravchenko) who is the Minister for Rubber Goods. But their partying finds a quick end when they are contacted by Cheavley, the main rival of Robert’s wife Gertrude. Cheavley has video evidence that Lord and Robert are actually lovers and threatens to expose them. In the world of Russian politics, intrigue and bigotry that cannot stand.

An Ideal Husband is a sometimes haphazard but always enthusiastic amalgamation of various texts that are full of political barbs, irony and sarcasm. While it was a bit long and seeing it in Vienna made it feel a little diluted, I did enjoy most of it.

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The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest
Director: Adrian Noble
Writer: Oscar Wilde
Cast: Philip Cumbus, Michael Benz, Emily Barber, Imogen Doel, David Suchet
Seen on: 8.10.2015

Algernon (Philip Cumbus) and Ernest (Michael Benz) are best friends and Earnest is even about to propose to Algernon’s cousin Gwendolen (Emily Barber), despite the fact that Gwendolen’s mother, the surly Augusta (David Suchet) is not too fond of him. But that proposal puts him in a tight spot as he’s been lying to everyone in the city. His actual name is John – Ernest is a brother he invented to have a persona that he can live it up in while none of his misdeeds make it back to his ward Cecily (Imogen Doel) who lives in the country. When John confesses this to Algernon, Algernon finds the idea ingenious and decides to use it himself. Without John’s knowledge he travels to the country and introduces himself as Ernest to Cecily. Having grown up with stories about the wild Ernest, Cecily is more than intrigued by his surprise appearance.

It’s hard to go wrong with a Wilde play and this production of The Importance of Being Earnest mostly goes very right indeed.

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Oscar Wilde and the Ring of Death (Gyles Brandreth)

Oscar Wilde and the Ring of Death is the second novel in the Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries, a series of books about Oscar Wilde as a Sherlock-Holmesian detective by Gyles Brandreth.
[Here’s my review of the first book.]
Finished on: 6.8.2015

Robert Sherard tells the story of how Oscar Wilde invites a bunch of people to a dinner (among them  Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker, E.W. Hornung, Alfred Douglas aka Bosie, his brother Francis Douglas, and Charles Brookfield), where they play a game of “murder”: every person should name one person they would murder if they got the chance. After the dinner, the people on the list start dying one by one in the exact same sequence. That gives Oscar Wilde a tight time frame to find the murderer among his guests – before his own name comes up.

Oscar Wilde and the Ring of Death was an entertaining read and a definite improvement on the first novel. I enjoyed it.

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Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders (Gyles Brandreth)

Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders is the first novel in the Oscar Wilde Murder Mysteries, a series of books about Oscar Wilde as a Sherlock-Holmesian detective by Gyles Brandreth.

Robert Sherard tells the story of how Oscar Wilde happens on the naked body of a young boy and decides that he has to solve that murder. Especially after the body and all trace of the crime disappear. With the help of Sherard and Arthur Conan Doyle takes up the case that leads him through public clubs to secret societies.

Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders was a quick and enjoyable read but I did have some issues with it as well.


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The Selfish Giant (2013)

The Selfish Giant
Director: Clio Barnard
Writer: Clio Barnard
Based on: Oscar Wilde‘s short story (very loosely)
Cast: Conner Chapman, Shaun Thomas, Sean Gilder, Lorraine Ashbourne, Steve Evets, Siobhan Finneran
Part of: Viennale

Arbor (Conner Chapman) and Swifty (Shaun Thomas) are best friends, despite Arbor being hyperactive and Swifty being the calmest person. By chance they get into scrap collecting (and stealing) for Kitten (Sean Gilder) . When Arbor is kicked out of school, he thinks that it’s a viable alternative. Swifty is more hesitant but goes along with it mostly because he’s drawn by Kitten’s horses. But it’s a generally volatile situation.

The Selfish Giant was absolutely fantastic. Atmospheric, great cast, wonderful setting and I cried my eyes out. Man, how I cried. Wow.


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Dorian Gray (2009)

Dorian Gray is the newest movie by Oliver Parker, starring Ben Barnes, Colin Firth, Ben Chaplin and Rebecca Hall. It’s an adaptation of Oscar Wilde‘s novel, which I’ve reviewed here.

Dorian (Ben Barnes) comes to London after his grandfather’s death; a naive, well-meaning young man. The painter Basil (Ben Chaplin) soon discovers him as his newest muse and introduces him to the high society, especially the cynical Lord Henry (Colin Firth). After the painting is done, Dorian gives his soul so that it ages instead of him. Thoroughly corrupted by Lord Henry, Dorian’s excesses get more and more depraved as his painting gets uglier and uglier.

This… well, this is not a good movie. I think that’s the simplest and yet the most fitting way to put it. Ben Barnes was miscast, the plot was changed, and not to its advantage and Oscar Wilde’s wit was practically eradicated. What’s left is a boring, trite and too long film.

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Re-Read: The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde)


The Picture of Dorian Gray is Oscar Wilde‘s only novel. I read it first for school and I loved it. Now, with the upcoming movie, I figured I’d read it again.

Dorian Gray is a young, beautiful man. When his friend, the painter Basil Hallward, paints a picture of him, Dorian, under the influence of the cynic Lord Henry Wotton, exclaims that he would rather see the picture age and not himself. Which is exactly what happens.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a wonderful book. It’s interesting, it’s well written, it’s basically one huge quote and the characters are awesome. Basically, it’s a classic for a reason. A very good one. And, if you haven’t, you should really read it.


[SPOILERS and a probably disturbing look into my reading habits after the jump]

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Too long?

So, I found this quote on Papercuts:

Finished “Anna Karenina” finally. Marvelous and all-encompassing, though less marvelous and less all-encompassing (can something be less all-encompassing?) than Proust, and too long, like Mahler’s Ninth. Both Tolstoy and Mahler say little in their leisurely span that can’t be said more tersely — although terser they wouldn’t be Mahler and Tolstoy. Everything’s too long. Webern is too long. This paragraph is too long.

It’s taken from Ned Rorem‘s diary and I love it. [As someone who read Anna Karenina, I can agree that I wouldn’t have minded some shortening. Although, at the time, the length didn’t disturb me as much as the infinite number of typos I found in my version. Never will buy anything from that publisher again.]

Anyway, the article on Papercuts goes on to asking the question, if there were some books which you wished were longer [not without saying that The Dark Knight was too long and bad, something with which I really can not agree]. An interesting question, I think.

They cite Atonement, which was wonderful and I can agree that I would have loved to hear more about Robbie and Cecilia and their love story. But then again, almost all Ian McEwan novels (that I’ve read so far) are too short.

Other books I can think of are

  • J. M. Coetzee‘s Boyhood [which is probably what he has done with Youth, but I haven’t read that one yet]
  • Oscar Wilde‘s Fairy Tales [either by including more tales or by expanding the existing ones. Or both]
  • Neil Gaiman‘s Coraline [although I know that it’s a children’s book and children’s books are supposed to be short(er)]

That’s all I can think of right now. Any books you would like to see longer (or shorter)?