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An Ideal Husband (Ein Idealer Gatte) 1958


Director: Hanns Farenburg


Writer: Oscar Wilde

Rôle: Arthur, Viscount Goring

Broadcast: 8 June 1958 Nord und Westdeutscher Rundfunkverband (NWRV)

Synopsis: A German production of Oscar Wilde's 1895 play that revolves around blackmail and political corruption, and touches on the themes of public and private honour. Sir Robert Chiltern is a successful Government minister, well-off and with a loving wife. All this is threatened when Mrs Cheveley appears in London with damning evidence of a past misdeed. Sir Robert turns for help to his friend Lord Goring, an apparently idle dandy and the despair of his father. Goring knows the lady of old, and, for him, takes the whole thing pretty seriously.

The play’s hero, Viscount Goring, is an idle bachelor, a tireless seeker of pleasure, a mild-mannered social critic, and a shining wit: the exemplary dandy philosopher. He earns the title of dandy by applying the dandy’s principal modes – joy, humour – to the pursuit of truth. Truth, he finds, is often occluded by propriety and cliché, and with the point of his wit he tries to scrape them off. He is primarily concerned with the truth of human relationships, their delights and boredoms. He is far from “heartless,” as his father Lord Caversham believes, since he holds his friends dearer than anything else. In his admirable romance with Mabel, his philosophy seems to find its reward.

Note: This B&W television production does still exist and is available through the NWRV archives. It is delightful and Marius is absolutely charming in the rôle of his namesake, Lord Goring.

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