Cinema: The Importance of Being Earnest

(J. Arthur Rank; Universal-International), bringing Oscar Wilde's classic 1895 comedy of manners to the screen for the first time, is a highly stylized, dryly amusing production. The British-made film is faithful to Wilde's play, which is a triumph of triviality: Playboy Jack Worthing (Michael Redgrave) loves Gwendolen Fairfax (Joan Greenwood), whose cousin, Algernon Moncrieff (Michael Denison), loves Jack's ward, Cecily Cardew (Dorothy Tutin). But because of Jack's ignoble habit of representing himself as his imaginary brother Earnest and Algy's adoption of Earnest's name and wicked reputation to speed his courtship of Cecily, both girls believe them selves to be...