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The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1960)


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#1 of 21 OFFLINE   Andy_G

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Posted June 04 2010 - 06:15 AM

Hi all,



I was recently reading Cubby Broccoli's 1998 autobiography, and was reminded of the commercial failure but critical success from 1960: The Trials of Oscar Wilde, starring Peter Finch.  

So far as I can tell, it has only ever appeared on VHS (and possibly DVD http://www.moviesunl...utm_medium=base ) (Sorry about the poorly-formed link). In the event, I have never seen it in any form.


IMDB informs that it was shot in Technirama and color. Because it is from the dreaded year of 1960, I worry that it may be lost forever (paging Bob Harris?).

I wonder whether anyone knows who owns the rights to this film, and whether it exists anywhere in a usable form? Has anyone seen it in recent memory? More practically, is there any prayer of it appearing in blu-ray?



#2 of 21 OFFLINE   Robin9

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Posted June 05 2010 - 05:55 AM

The credit titles say "Photographed by Ted Moore in Technirama  Technicolor" The credits also say "Copyright MCMLX Warwick Film Productions".


In view of Cubby Broccoli's later involvement with James Bond - and this movie uses both Ted Moore and Ken Adam - I was astonished to see in the credit titles a supporting actor named Ian Fleming!

I've no idea who today holds the copyright on the Warwick movies Cubby Broccoli made in partnership with Irving Allen. Most of them have never been released on DVD.



#3 of 21 OFFLINE   Douglas R

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Posted June 05 2010 - 07:23 AM

The film is regularly shown in the UK. In fact it has several showings on TCM this month. I don't know who distributes it to UK TV though. "Wide Screen Movies" (Carr & Hayes) claims that it was shown in Super Technirama 70 but I think that must be a mistake.



#4 of 21 OFFLINE   Andy_G

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Posted June 05 2010 - 07:34 AM

Interesting. Thanks Douglas. It doesn't look like there's been a UK release on DVD (or anything else recently)


Super Technirama 70 seems at least possible: Technirama was large format, and the aspect ratio would have been right for a 70mm blowup.


Worryingly, all of the youtube clips (some with TCM badges) are in pan-and-scan and look crummy.


I sent (or tried to send) a shot-in-the-dark email to Michael G. Wilson to see if he knows anything about it.


Robin is right that there are some very familiar names in the credits. I would think that at least someone would be interested in seeing this on home video.

[BTW, boo to the new(ish?) HTF reply boxes for interfering with the OS X system-wide dictionary.]


#5 of 21 OFFLINE   John Skoda

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Posted June 05 2010 - 01:49 PM


An ad for the film on the Widescreen Museum site does mention Super Technirama 70 (ad near the bottom of the page):


http://www.widescree...een/wingtr3.htm




#6 of 21 OFFLINE   Andy_G

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Posted June 05 2010 - 04:12 PM

So I see. Clearly this was an "A" movie. Sad that it's apparently in purgatory.

It's in good company.


#7 of 21 OFFLINE   john a hunter

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Posted June 06 2010 - 10:37 AM



Originally Posted by John Skoda 


An ad for the film on the Widescreen Museum site does mention Super Technirama 70 (ad near the bottom of the page):


http://www.widescree...een/wingtr3.htm



I don't recall that it was released initially in 70mm.While young at the time of its release(!!), if in 70mm I am sure it would have been re-released in that format during the 60's or 70's when my recollection is much better. It was not,but just disappeared.Perhaps a case of the distributors trying to enhance its attractions by the use of the Super Technirama tag.!



#8 of 21 OFFLINE   Robin9

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Posted June 06 2010 - 05:40 PM


Quote:

Originally Posted by Douglas R 

The film is regularly shown in the UK. In fact it has several showings on TCM this month.


Does TCM show any other Warwick movies?



#9 of 21 OFFLINE   Douglas R

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Posted June 06 2010 - 08:14 PM



Originally Posted by Robin9 


Quote:



Does TCM show any other Warwick movies?



Robin - I don't recognise any other Warwick title (as listed on IMBd) being shown on TCM (UK).



#10 of 21 OFFLINE   Andy_G

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Posted June 06 2010 - 11:25 PM

Too bad. Anyone have a contact with TCM UK? I'd love to find out who they think owns the title.


#11 of 21 OFFLINE   Robin9

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Posted June 07 2010 - 05:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Douglas R 

Robin - I don't recognise any other Warwick title (as listed on IMBd) being shown on TCM (UK).


Thank you.


I find it rather sad that the Warwick Movies seem to have disappeared. They weren't the greatest films ever made but they were enjoyable and are essential for completist fans of stars like Victor Mature, Alan Ladd and Anita Ekberg.



#12 of 21 OFFLINE   Jon Lidolt

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Posted June 08 2010 - 10:05 AM

This film did get a 70mm release in England and was nominated for a number of British Film Awards. Both Peter Finch and John Fraser were nominated for the Best Actor Award although neither won. It didn't do as well as it should have because a rival Oscar Wilde film (shot in B&W) starring Robert Morley came out at exactly the same time. Because the two Wilde films were fighting for the same audience, neither movie was very successful at the boxoffice.



#13 of 21 OFFLINE   Andy_G

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Posted June 08 2010 - 10:22 AM

If the film really got a 70mm release, then the negative is probably wrecked and faded, depending on how many prints they ran off of it. If it even still exists.


#14 of 21 OFFLINE   john a hunter

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Posted June 08 2010 - 11:01 AM



Originally Posted by Jon Lidolt 

This film did get a 70mm release in England and was nominated for a number of British Film Awards.


Any evidence as to where, Jon?



#15 of 21 OFFLINE   Andy_G

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Posted June 10 2010 - 08:10 AM

I have in my hands the DVD from Movies Unlimited that I linked to up top. I scanned through it, and it's awful. Pan and scan, and apparently dubbed off of a worn VHS tape.

Oh, and it's a DVD-R.

The copyright is claimed by "Retro Flix."

How bad? This bad (excuse VLC's linear deinterlacing):


Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image



You get the picture. . .



#16 of 21 OFFLINE   Jon Lidolt

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Posted June 11 2010 - 03:00 AM



Originally Posted by john a hunter 




Any evidence as to where, Jon?

The Internet Movie Database mentions both 35 and 70mm screen ratios for this film. In addition, the book Wide Screen Movies has it listed as 70m release (although it's often inaccurate). I asked John Fraser, who appears in the movie, about it and he can't remember for certain if it played in 70m in London or not, but thinks it probably did. It makes sense, because in the 60's a great many features that were only distributed in 35mm in N. America had 70mm prints manufactured for their European playdates.



#17 of 21 OFFLINE   Jon Lidolt

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Posted June 11 2010 - 05:05 AM

I just ran across an English ad for The Trials of Oscar Wilde with the "in Super Technirama-70" credit on it. You can find a picture of it here:


http://www.widescree...een/wingtr3.htm


- Jon



#18 of 21 OFFLINE   john a hunter

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Posted June 11 2010 - 10:19 AM


Wide Screen Movies as you rightly say is often(or should that be mostly)inaccurate. An advert is hardly evidence for reasons already stated. The only only way to be reasonably certain is to to check  the BFI records as to where the film was originally shown and until then it is" unproven" as they say in Scotland.

Originally Posted by Jon Lidolt 



The Internet Movie Database mentions both 35 and 70mm screen ratios for this film. In addition, the book Wide Screen Movies has it listed as 70m release (although it's often inaccurate). I asked John Fraser, who appears in the movie, about it and he can't remember for certain if it played in 70m in London or not, but thinks it probably did. It makes sense, because in the 60's a great many features that were only distributed in 35mm in N. America had 70mm prints manufactured for their European playdates.





#19 of 21 OFFLINE   Andy_G

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Posted June 12 2010 - 01:53 AM

Well, for me it's enough to know that it could have been shown in 70mm. And assuming there's anything left of the original elements, it still could be. I'm not expecting that it ever will be, though.




#20 of 21 OFFLINE   Douglas R

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Posted July 03 2010 - 05:58 AM



Originally Posted by Robin9 

The credit titles say "Photographed by Ted Moore in Technirama  Technicolor" The credits also say "Copyright MCMLX Warwick Film Productions".


In view of Cubby Broccoli's later involvement with James Bond - and this movie uses both Ted Moore and Ken Adam - I was astonished to see in the credit titles a supporting actor named Ian Fleming!

I've no idea who today holds the copyright on the Warwick movies Cubby Broccoli made in partnership with Irving Allen. Most of them have never been released on DVD.



I had a look at the version which TCM are showing in the UK and it contains the United Artists and M-G-M logos (latest versions). So M-G-M owns the copyright. However, in view of M-G-M's financial problems I don't suppose this film will make it onto DVD anytime soon. The TCM print is very good (vastly better than those awful stills posted above) but unfortunately is pan and scan.