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An Ideal Husband

An Ideal HusbandOscar Wildes plays are notoriously
  sprinkled with drama, mischief and
  tongue-in-cheek dialogue — none more
  so than the enchanting An Ideal
, filmed in 1947 and now
  available on DVD

SET IN VICTORIAN ENGLAND, IN 1895, An Ideal Husband is a tale of intrigue and double-dealing. Lady Gertrude Chiltern (Diana Wynyard) is secure in the knowledge that her loyal and adoring husband Sir Robert Chiltern (Hugh Williams: Wuthering Heights) is a pillar of the community an honest, respectable prospective Cabinet Minister who is An Ideal Husband.

However, she soon discovers that things are not quite as they seem when Sir Robert and Lady Chiltern hold a lavish reception where their friend, Lady Markby (Constance Collier), brings with her the scheming adventuress Mrs Dora Cheveley (Paulette Goddard: The Diary Of A Chambermaid).

Dora was at school with Lady Chiltern, who dislikes her, and was once engaged to Sir Robert's close friend, the dashing Arthur, Viscount Goring (Michael Wilding) — who appears enamoured of Sir Robert and Lady Chiltern's daughter Mabel.

Seeking support from Sir Robert concerning the shady Argentine Canal scheme in which she has invested heavily, Dora is prepared to blackmail him over secret past dealings that, should they be made public, would not only put his career in jeopardy but could also cost him the loving wife who has put him on a pedestal. And she has a letter that will incriminate Sir Robert beyond all reasonable doubt.

Enlisting the help of Arthur leads to unfortunate confusion because Sir Robert's friend has already pledged his assistance to Lady Chiltern and is expecting a visit from her when Dora visits him with a proposition — and while there she discovers further blackmail potential. But will Sir Robert give in to her demands in order to protect himself? Will Dora's blackmailing attempts succeed? And to whom does the very important diamond-and-ruby brooch belong?

A beautiful costume drama perfectly evoking a bygone age, An Ideal Husband is a captivating, often amusing, tale of scheming and blackmail. It is a world where the upper class rules and the lower classes know their place and as the aristocracy take a turn in their carriages, socialising and watching the splendour of the pomp and ceremony that is so much a part of our history, the lower classes take their entertainment by watching their 'betters'. Interesting!

The dialogue is witty and crisp; reflecting the times. "One should never give a woman anything she can't wear in the evening" says Dora, and "Romance should begin with science and end with a settlement." When Lord Caversham says to his son, Lord Goring: "Do you really understand what you say?" he replies: "Yes, father, if I listen attentively!"

With a star-studded cast, costume designed by the legendary Cecil Beaton and shot in glorious Technicolor, this is the ultimate adaptation of one of Oscar Wilde's most famous and best loved plays — one that is bound to please, amuse and entertain in equal measure.

An Ideal Husband also features: Harriette Johns as Lady Basildon; Christine Norden as Mrs Marchmont; Sir C Aubrey Smith as The Earl of Caversham; Michael Medwin as the Duke of Nonsuch; Michael Anthony as Viscomte de Nanjac; Peter Hobbes as Mr Montford; John Clifford as Mason, Butler to Sir Robert Chiltern; Fred Groves as Phipps, Butler to Lord Goring; and Michael Ward as Mr Trafford.

The Screenplay is by Lajos Biro; Photographed by Georges Perinal; Costumes by Cecil Beaton; Sets by Vincent Korda; Music Composed by Arthur Benjamin and Played by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Conducted by Dr Hubert Clifford; and Produced and Directed by Alexander Korda.

Network Releasing is proud to announce the release of the first post-war film from Sir Alexander Korda, An Ideal Husband (U) which is available to buy on DVD from 15 June (2009) at a RRP of 12.99. Total Running Time: 92 Minutes.

"A beautiful costume drama perfectly evoking a bygone age, An Ideal Husband is a captivating, often amusing, tale of scheming and blackmail" — Maggie Woods, MotorBar