The Trials of Oscar Wilde

The Trials of Oscar Wilde
Directed by Ken Hughes
Produced by Irving Allen
Albert R. Broccoli
Harold Huth
Written by The Stringed Lute
by John Furnell
Screenplay by Montgomery Hyde
Ken Hughes
Starring Peter Finch
Yvonne Mitchell
James Mason
Nigel Patrick
Lionel Jeffries
John Fraser
Music by Ron Goodwin
Cinematography Ted Moore
Edited by Geoffrey Foot
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • May 1960 (1960-05)
Running time
123 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £270,000[2]

The Trials of Oscar Wilde also known as The Man with the Green Carnation and The Green Carnation, is a 1960 British film based on the libel and subsequent criminal cases involving Oscar Wilde and the Marquess of Queensberry. It was written by Allen and Ken Hughes, directed by Hughes, and co-produced by Irving Allen, Albert R. Broccoli and Harold Huth. The screenplay was by Ken Hughes and Montgomery Hyde, based on the play The Stringed Lute by John Furnell. The film was made by Warwick Films and released by United Artists.

It stars Peter Finch as Wilde, Lionel Jeffries as Queensberry, and John Fraser as Bosie (Lord Alfred Douglas) with James Mason, Nigel Patrick, Yvonne Mitchell, Maxine Audley, Paul Rogers and James Booth.


The production was filmed in Technirama. It was one of two films about Wilde released in 1960, the other being Oscar Wilde. According to production designer Ken Adam, producer Irving Allen set up four editing rooms for the production, working in parallel during principal photography; the setup permitted the film on the screen in the West End seven weeks after they had started filming.[3]


In his review of the film, Bosley Crowther wrote: "Mr. Wilde himself could not have expected his rare personality or his unfortunate encounters with British justice on a morals charge to have been more sympathetically or affectingly dramatized. In comparison to that other British picture about the same subject that opened [in New York City] last week, this one is more impressive in every respect, save one."[4] Crowther concludes the review saying "The only thing is you wonder if this is a fairly true account, if Mr. Wilde was as noble and heroic as he is made to appear. And if he was, what was he doing with those cheap and shady young men? It looks to us as if they are trying to whitewash a most unpleasant case, which is one of the more notorious and less ennobling in literary history."[4]

Variety magazine, commenting on the performances, said "Peter Finch gives a moving and subtle performance as the ill-starred playwright. Before his downfall he gives the man the charm that he undoubtedly had....John Fraser as handsome young Lord Alfred Douglas is suitably vain, selfish, vindictive and petulant and the relationship between the two is more understandable. Where Trials suffers in comparison with the B&W film is in the remarkable impact of the libel case court sequence. James Mason never provides the strength and bitter logic necessary for the dramatic cut-and-thrust when Wilde is in the witness box."[5]


The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best English-Language Foreign Film. Peter Finch won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and the film also received four other BAFTA nominations including Best British Film, Best Film from any source and for John Fraser as Best British Actor. Peter Finch (tied with Bambang Hermanto) also received the Best Actor Award at the 2nd Moscow International Film Festival.[6]


The film was the inspiration for a promotional film made for the Rolling Stones song "We Love You"; the 1967 film, directed by Peter Whitehead, featured Mick Jagger as Wilde, Keith Richards as the Marquis, and Marianne Faithfull as Bosie.[7]


  1. Release information from the BFI National Archive Film & TV Database
  2. Alexander Walker, Hollywood, England, Stein and Day, 1974 p138
  3. A Kubrick Masterclass with Sir Ken Adam, Hosted by Sir Christopher Frayling, from The Script Factory
  4. 1 2 Wilde Absolved: Writer's 'Trials' Get New Examination, a 28 June 1960 review from The New York Times
  5. The Trials of Oscar Wilde, a 1960 review by Variety magazine
  6. "2nd Moscow International Film Festival (1961)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  7. Oscar in Popular Culture, from Issue no 45 (July 2008) of The Oscholars

The Trials of Oscar Wilde at the Internet Movie Database

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