Item #1003263 The Trials of Oscar Wilde: book, first draft screenplay, and film set photographs. Oscar Wilde, H. Montgomery Hyde, Ken Hughes, director and screenwriter.
The Trials of Oscar Wilde: book, first draft screenplay, and film set photographs
The Trials of Oscar Wilde: book, first draft screenplay, and film set photographs
The Trials of Oscar Wilde: book, first draft screenplay, and film set photographs
The Trials of Oscar Wilde: book, first draft screenplay, and film set photographs
The Trials of Oscar Wilde: book, first draft screenplay, and film set photographs
The Trials of Oscar Wilde: book, first draft screenplay, and film set photographs
The Trials of Oscar Wilde: book, first draft screenplay, and film set photographs
The Trials of Oscar Wilde: book, first draft screenplay, and film set photographs
The Trials of Oscar Wilde: book, first draft screenplay, and film set photographs
The Trials of Oscar Wilde: book, first draft screenplay, and film set photographs
The Trials of Oscar Wilde: book, first draft screenplay, and film set photographs

The Trials of Oscar Wilde: book, first draft screenplay, and film set photographs

London: William Hodge and Company; Warwick Film Productions, 1948; 1960. Book: single volume, measuring 8.25 x 5.5 inches: [16], 384. Original red cloth, original unclipped pictorial dust jacket. Nine black-and-white plates. Trace of erasure to front free endpaper; occasional pencil notes; a few short closed tears to jacket. Screenplay: mimeographed screenplay, measuring 11.5 x 8 inches: [2], 208 leaves printed recto only. Green card wrappers with typed title label to upper wrapper and ink note: “ONLY COPY / NOT TO BE LOANED OR TAKEN AWAY.” Handwritten label to spine; ink note “First Screenplay” and typed return instructions on title page: “THIS IS A VERY RARE SCRIPT AND IS THE ONLY ONE IN EXISTANCE [sic].” Occasional marginalia in text; page 10 blank with note: “What happened here?” Wrappers dampstained and worn. Photographs: 32 double-weight black-and-white photographs, each measuring 8 x 10 inches, with reference numbers (some illegible). One photograph discolored; one with ink notes to verso.

Unique collection of material documenting the midcentury British interest in Oscar Wilde’s 1895 conviction for “gross indecency:” a 1948 first edition of The Trials of Oscar Wilde, edited by H. Montgomery Hyde; the unpublished first screenplay for the 1960 film adaptation of The Trials of Oscar Wilde, the working copy of director Ken Hughes, who consulted with Hyde on the screenplay; and a group of black-and-white reference photographs from the film, which won the Golden Globe for Best English-Language Foreign Film in 1960. Book, screenplay, and photographs all explore the “tripartite legal drama” of Wilde’s unsuccessful prosecution of the Marquess of Queensberry for libel in April 1895, and Wilde’s two subsequent criminal trials for “gross indecency with another male person.” Wilde’s conviction in the final trial, which resulted in two years of imprisonment and hard labor, effectively destroyed his life. The 1945 death of the notoriously litigious Lord Alfred Douglas, Queensberry’s estranged son and Wilde’s lover, made possible a more open discussion of Wilde’s case in print at midcentury. Hyde’s book represented the most complete account of the trials yet published, an effort “to give the proceedings verbatim and with the necessary introductory background such as would enable the evidence to be correctly appreciated.” The moment was right for a reevaluation of Wilde’s crime and conviction. In 1957, the Wolfenden Report would recommend the decriminalization of private homosexual acts between men. Although it would be a decade before that recommendation was made law, the report had a swift impact on British cultural production. In 1958, the theatre censor announced that homosexuality as a topic would be permitted on the stage, as long as the play contributed to the serious discussion of homosexuality in British society. The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) also relaxed its attitude toward homosexuality on screen after Wolfenden. Two feature-length films about Wilde were released in 1960, the more successful of which was Ken Hughes’s Golden Globe-winning The Trials of Oscar Wilde, written in collaboration with Hyde. Peter Finch won a BAFTA award for his sympathetic portrayal of Wilde, and John Fraser, who played Douglas, was nominated as well. Leonard Mosely of the Daily Express commented: “Whatever else the Wolfenden Report on vice in Britain failed to achieve, it has certainly opened the floodgates so far as films, theatre and literature are concerned. The walls of prejudice and prudery may not have tumbled down yet, but they are certainly crumbling at the foundations. Two years ago, for instance, no film company in the English-speaking world would have dared to make a film about Oscar Wilde and tell the whole truth about him. Yesterday I saw the first of two films which try to do exactly that.” This unique copy of Hughes’s first screenplay, never published, includes a number of scenes not present in the completed film, and reflects the challenge of portraying “the love that dare not speak its name” on screen. Hyde’s book and Hughes’s screenplay are accompanied by a collection of 32 original reference photographs from the making of Hughes’s film, some publicity stills, some candid shots of the actors on set. See John-Pierre Joyce, Odd Men Out: Male Homosexuality in Britain from Wolfenden to Gay Liberation, 1954-1970. A remarkable retrospective group of materials related to Wilde’s trials and their post-Wolfenden reevaluation, a shift which ultimately led to Wilde being pardoned, along with 50,000 other men, in 2017.

Price: $7,500.00