The Importance of Being Earnest

Essay by kab131230A-, November 2014

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The Importance of Being Earnest Comparative Analysis

The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde's most famous play was first performed in 1895 and is a comedy in which the protagonist, John (Jack) Worthing, creates a fictitious brother, Earnest, to escape social obligations he considered a burden. This comedic satire mocks the triviality that marriage, education, and even the value of women is given in the social world of his day. The 1952 film adaptation of The Importance of Being Earnest was directed by Anthony Asquith and stared Michael Redgrave as John Worthing, Michael Denison as Algernon Moncrieff, and Joan Greenwood as Gwendolen Fairfax. The film is most noted for Edith Evans' performance as Lady Bracknell. The 1952 version of The Importance of Being Earnest is considered the most faithful and the definitive take on the comic classic. Much of that can be attributed to the fact that director Anthony Asquith decided not to follow the usual approach to cinema, but treated it as a filmed version of a theatrical production, which becomes evident in the adaptation's settings and emphasis on the dialogue between characters

Asquith emphasizes the stage-bound nature of the production by having it begin with people taking their seats in a Victorian-era theater and opening up their programs.

As one audience member peers through glasses at the stage, we are drawn into the story, shot both in locations and on sets. Maintaining the same technique, the final shot consists of the fall of the curtain, once again reminding the spectators that they have been watching a play. The influence theatrical performance exerts on this adaptation is also evident in the film's settings, as Asquith chose to maintain that most of the action occurs in scenes within the interior. These interior settings are the epitome of Victorian...