Importance Of Being Earne

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fye.000000400071726951 5/7/02 Used
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Review

Review Text Oliver Parker's 1999 screen adaptation of Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband was breezy, spry, and essentially faithful to the Victorian original. So was Charlie Mole's score. But in tackling Wilde's greatest and most famous work, Parker and Mole took a markedly different approach. To call their version of The Importance of Being Earnest irreverent would be a vast understatement. Wilde was irreverent; Parker is brazen. In the film, Wilde's layabout dandy Algernon Montcrieffe performs back-flips in high-speed carriage chases. The imperious Lady Bracknell proves a regular Robin Hood with a bow and arrow. And prim little Gwendolyn Fairfax has Ernest's name tatooed upon her bare behind. If Wilde had written that, they would have added ten more years to his prison sentence. Mole contributes to the boldness of the project by setting the 19th century dialogue to 20th century jazz. He tinkers with swing, ragtime, and brass band sounds, ironically visiting Victorian styles only in Cecily's pre-Raphaelite daydreams (another fanciful Parker innovation). As if all that weren't anachronistic enough, Mole also provides a very contemporary sounding guitar and piano duet for Algernon and Jack. The song "The Serenade (Lady Come Down)" is catchy and amusing; at least the lyrics fit the period, having been appropriated from Wilde's poem Serenade (For Music). But the fit is awkward. Wilde's verse sounds as if it has been stretched to its limits to fit the jolly tune. And that pretty much sums up the film itself. Despite the many laugh out loud moments in Parker's zany travesty, the director and his composer seem determined to keep Wilde's genius at arm's length. This may be the funniest English language play ever written, but the filmmakers don't seem to think it can be trusted with 21st century audiences. ~ Evan Cater

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Front Titles - 2:51
  2. 2. Jack Leaves for the City - 2:46
  3. 3. Algy Goes Bunburying - 1:23
  4. 4. Arrival at Lady Bracknell's - 1:06
  5. 5. The Interview - 3:39
  6. 6. Jack and Gwendolen - 2:57
  7. 7. Punting on the River - 2:47
  8. 8. The Vital Importance of Being Earnest - 1:29
  9. 9. Cecily's Fantasy - 2:50
  10. 10. Teatime - 3:48
  11. 11. Lady Bracknell - 1:49
  12. 12. The Debt Collectors - 1:22
  13. 13. The Serenade (Lady Come Down) - 2:08
  14. 14. Perfectly Heartless - 6:00
  15. 15. Found in a Handbag - 2:45
  16. 18. Ernest after all - 2:11
  17. 19. Lady Come Down - 3:03
  1. 16. Where's that baby? (for the film The Importance of Being Earnest) - 3:36
  2. 17. Dr. Chasuble Proposes to Miss Prism (for the film The Importance of Being Earnest) - 1:58

Product Details

Release Date
5/7/02 

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