January 2, 2017


An Ideal Husband – 1947 | 96 mins | Drama, Comedy | Colour


Plot Synopsis

An Ideal Husband

For Sir Alexander Korda‘s first post-war directorial effort he assembled a laudable group of technicians and actors for London Films adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s renowned play An Ideal Husband; lighting was provided by the eminent French expert Georges Perinal; sets are by Vincent Korda; and decor and costumes by Cecil Beaton. The lavish TechniColour adaptation of Wilde’s comedy of manners is skilfully performed by a stellar cast including Hollywood’s Paulette Goddard, C Aubrey Smith, Michael Wilding and Glynis Johns. The film was remade in 1999 with an all-star cast including Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore and Rupert Everett.

Set in 1895, Sir Robert Chiltern (Hugh Williams), a prospective Cabinet minister discovers his career may be jeopardised by an unscrupulous adventuress from Berlin, Mrs Cheveley (Paulette Goddard). She attempts to enlist Sir Robert’s help in a shady Argentinean canal scheme, and when he indignantly refuses she threatens to expose him with the knowledge that he had previously sold government secrets to a foreign buyer. His situation threatens both his social position and his marriage, and being an honourable man, he must think deftly to resolve the situation. Forced to agree, Sir Robert consults his best friend Lord Goring (Michael Wilding), who agrees to try and help and advises Sir Robert to confess to his wife. Lady Chiltern (Diana Wynyard) is horrified to discover her husband is not the paragon of virtue she envisaged and threatens to leave him, however, she relents when he promises not to support Mrs. Cheveley’s plan. Goring believes he can frustrate Mrs. Cheveley but she attempts to blackmail him so he must now defeat her to save both Sir Robert and himself.

Production Team

Georges Périnal: Cinematography
Cecil Beaton: Costume Design
Oswald Hafenrichter: Editing
Arthur Benjamin: Original Music
Alexander Korda: Producer
Vincent Korda: Production Design
Lajos Biró: Script
Red Law: Sound Department
Lee Williams: Sound Department
John Cox: Sound Department


Paulette Goddard: Mrs Laura Cheveley
Michael Wilding: Viscount Arthur Goring
Diana Wynyard: Lady Gertrude Chiltern
Hugh Williams: Sir Robert Chiltern
C Aubrey Smith: Earl of Caversham
Glynis Johns: Mable Chiltern
Constance Collier: Lady Markby
Christine Norden: Mrs Margaret Marchmont
Harriette Johns: Olivia
Michael Medwin: Duke of Nonesuch
Michael Anthony: Viscomte de Nanjac
Peter Hobbes: Mr Eddie Montford

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