The Importance of Being Ernest

By critical acclaim and popular vote, Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Ernest is the greatest comic play of all time. It debuted in the St. James Theater in London's west end on 14 February, 1895 and has delighted hundreds of millions of people over the following 113 years. No other play has had such a universal appeal to over six generations of theater and movie goers.

Yet for all its popularity the original run of the play was short, only 83 performances. While opening night reviews raved about the play and it was expected to generate record setting attendance records, disclosures of Mr. Wilde's scandalous gay lifestyle, his trial and imprisonment killed both his popularity and the play's.

Of all the versions filmed of The Importance of Being Ernest, the most critically endorsed is the 1985 Consolidated Productions version filmed in the Palace Theater, Watford, Hertfordshire, England with the cast performing it for the popular audiences of the time. Starring the incomparable Wendy Hiller, this production far eclipses the tame 1952 version starring Michael Redgrave and the lamentable 2002 film with Colin Firth that worked so hard to inject contemporary humor that it was rendered ridiculous.


Wendy Hiller as Lady Bracknell

..............Gary Bond as John Worthing........Gabrielle Drake as Gwendolen Fairfax.......


......Ann Thorton as Cecily Cardew..............Jeremy Clyde as Algernon Moncrieff..


Regrettably, this outstanding production, though it aired on PBS in the late 1980s, has never been released in VHS or DVD. The only copies in existence are those few recorded by private viewers who happened to catch it on television. I have a very poor copy, recorded on VHS in SLP because I never imagined it was something I'd want until I saw it. Which brings us to the purpose for this page.

I would very much like to convince Acorn Media to produce and release this play on DVD so I'm encouraging everyone who visits this page to send them an email requesting that they do so at

Another highly respected DVD producer is the Criterion Collection. They accept movie recommendations at:

In both cases be sure to mention that this version is vastly superior to all previous movie releases.

Thank you to everyone who contacts these sources.

Additionally, if anyone has a good quality recording of this version of this play I would very much like to purchase it or a good copy of it so my family can enjoy it better than the grainy 20-year old VHS we current have. My email address it:

Please delete the x before copying and pasting the rest of the address into your email address block. It's there to block SPAM spiders.

As with the On Approval page, I'm starting a list of everyone who contacts me about this version of The Importance of Being Ernest. The first person to write was:

Jeanne, who can be reached at Jeanne is an outstanding artist whose work you can view and purchase on her site at

Who's going to be next?

Thank you for visiting this page and if possible, helping all of us obtain a good copy of this outstanding version of The Importance of Being Ernest.


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