Viewed from the 21st century, the Profumo affair seems much ado about nothing, a sex scandal of an altogether more innocent age. Put to one side the marginal security issues, and all that is left is a bit of bad behaviour among the aristocracy, and to be frank, if you choose not to shoot these people, you can't really expect for anything more. It did leave one serious casualty, however: Stephen Ward, procurer of girls to the upper classes, who committed suicide after being abandoned by his friends when the going got tough. 'Scandal' tells his story, and manages to be reasonably sympathetic to Ward, Christine Keeler (the girl who slept with Profumo) and even (to some extent) the minister, although the facts don't quite seem to support the continuing strength of the bond between Ward and Keeler as depicted. The portrait of the early 1960s is well judged (without the film ever feeling overly historical), and there are interesting insights into the semi-professional sexual relationships between the smart set and the girls on the make they adopted. But the best thing about 'Scandal' is really the acting. A distinguished array of British character actors perform their turns impeccably; and Joanne Whalley, while never quite looking eighteen, is a dead ringer for Keeler and always nice to look at. But in his own way, John Hurt (who plays Ward) is also great to look at, in his case because of his straightforward excellence as an actor. In his hands, Ward is an essentially mediocre man; and yet charming, far from wicked and ultimately tragic. In some senses, the whole affair provided a template for the subsequent portrayal of the private lives of politicians by the press, to the extent that today it would hardly make the waves that it did at the time. But this film goes far beyond historical reconstruction, and is well worth watching in spite of the relative triviality of the events is portrays.
Drama / History
Drama / History
Based on the Profumo Scandal of 1963, an affair between an exotic dancer and the Minister of War shakes up the British government.
March 21, 2020