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Scandal

By Bryan Reesman

This complex and intriguing drama chronicles--with some probable narrative liberties--the chain of events that instigated the provocative Profumo affair, the infamous cold war scandal that toppled Britain's conservative government in the early 1960s. John Hurt stars as charming osteopath Stephen Ward, who grooms a malleable and beautiful teen showgirl, Christine Keeler (Joanne Whalley-Kilmer), to party with his swinging high-society friends. Trouble starts brewing when Christine becomes simultaneously entangled with both a Russian diplomat and a British cabinet minister. Once the media learn of her sexual escapades, the reigning Conservative Party comes under fire and begins seeking a scapegoat to distract the public from the dangerous political implications that the affairs represent. Under Michael Caton-Jones's confident direction, the film generates sympathy for its decadent lead characters, and it intelligently explores how private personal matters become vulgar public affairs when political machinations intrude. The most intriguing aspect of Scandal is the platonic love affair between Keeler and Ward amid the trials and tribulations of their stormy relationship--think of it as a twisted variation on My Fair Lady. The fine cast also includes Ian McKellan as John Profumo and Bridget Fonda as Christine's partner-in-fun Mandy Rice-Davies. The uncut DVD version features a little more skin than the R-rated release, although viewers will probably wonder why those few extra shots caused such a stir.

 

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Michael Caton-Jones

Stars: John Hurt, Joanne Whalley, Bridget Fonda

Released: April 28, 1989

Availability: DVD VHS


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