The Importance of Being Earnest is a satirical comedy that exposes
the triviality of high society, the greed and hypocrisy that hide behind
its moral values and conventions, the stupidity of romantic girls and the
stupidity of the libertine boys who fall in love with them.
The wealthy, idle, cynical bachelor Algernon "Algie" Moncrieff has no intention
of getting married, viewing marriage as the ultimate curse for an intelligent
gentleman. He is only interested in pleasure.
His best friend and fellow libertine Ernest comes to visit him.
Ernest is in love with Algie's cousin
Gwen and they both know that she reciprocates. Ernest has decided to propose.
However, Algie has found a cigarette box that belongs to Ernest and has
guessed that Ernest must have a secret second life because the cigarette
box bears a dedication from a girl named Cecily to her "uncle Jack", and
Ernest is the owner of the cigarette box. Pressed, Ernest confesses that
he has another identity when he stays at his country mansion: he goes by the
name of Jack (actually his real name) and is the guardian of his
pretty teenage niece Cecily, who also happens to be a heiress. As far as
Cecily knows, Ernest is uncle Jack's mysterius and wicked brother.
Algie in turns reveals that he does something similar: whenever he wants to
escape from the city, he tells his relatives that he has to take care of his
invalid friend Bunbury in the country.
Gwen shows up with her haughty and hostile mother, who is currently jealous of
a female friend left a widow by the sudden death of her husband and therefore
looking 20 years younger. Left alone with the girl, Ernest proposes to Gwen
and she enthusiastically accepts (it's more like she proposes to him) except
that she declares to be mainly in love with his name, Ernest...
When she returns, Gwen's mother is not amused at all. She grills Ernest
and, upon learning that he was found in a handbag in a train station and
adopted by a wealthy benefactor (Cecily's grandfather), refuses her consent
to the marriage despite the fact that he qualifies in many other respects
(he smokes and he is utterly ignorant, to her delight).
When the ladies leave, a dazzled Ernest decides it is time to kill Jack.
In Ernest/Jack's country home Cecily is lonely and dreamy, writing everything in her
diary and being tutored by a romantic middle-aged spinster, miss Prism.
Algie, having found out the address of Ernest's country home, shows up
pretending to be uncle Jack's brother, the wicked Ernest whom Cecily has never
met. It turns out that Cecily has always been in love with this mysterious
and wicked character and is easily seduced by Algie, and Algie is totally
fascinated by the young and silly girl. Meanwhile the tutor flirts with the
Alas, Algie's friend Earnest/Jack shows up dressed in black to announce that
his wicked brother Earnest has died of a disease and he asks the rector to
rechristen him Earnest in his honor. Just then Cecily walks in to announce
that the wicked brother is not only alive but visiting them. Algie pretending to
be Earnest in Jack's country home
and uncle Jack the one who pretends to be Earnest in Algie's city home confront
each other. Jack is outraged at Algie scheming to seduce his innocent Cecily
but Algie swears that he is ready to reform himself and marry the girl.
Uncle Jack tells Algie to leave immediately, but Algie has time to propose to
Cecily in secret, a fact that Cecily dutifully writes down in her diary.
She confesses that they were engaged in her dreams months earlier and she
even produces the love letters that she wrote to herself signed by him.
However, Cecily too reveals that she is mainly in love with his name,
Ernest... Now Algie too wants the rector to rechristen him Ernest.
Gwen arrives, determined to continue her love affair with the man she knows
as Ernest and Cecily knows as uncle Jack. Cecily is alone at home and the
two girls start chatting, initially very sisterly, but they soon realize that
they are both engaged with "Ernest". They exchange diaries to prove that
each is the one who has received the marriage proposal from "Ernest". They are
beginning to trade polite insults when the two men walk in and the girls
realize that they are calling "Ernest" two different men. Jack is forced
to confess to Gwen that his real name is not Ernest, and Algie is forced
to confess to Cecily that his real name is not Ernest, but both pledge to
change their names to Ernest as soon as the rector is ready.
The girls gladly forgive them for their lies and look forward to be
re-engaged to their respective Ernests.
Gwen's mother arrives and gets angry as usual, not only at her own daughter
but now also at her nephew Algie who wants to get married to Cecily. Her
attitude changes dramatically when Jack mentions she is the heiress to a huge
fortune. Suddenly she's all in favor of the marriage:
Algie only has debts. Jack seizes the
opportunity to blackmail her: he is Cecily's guardian and will give his
approval only if he is allowed to marry Gwen.
Gwen and her mom are about to walk out when the spinster returns and
Gwen's mom recognizes her as the governess who disappeared with the baby
of her sister. The spinster confesses that she lost the baby in a train
station. It is soon proven that Jack is that very baby, i.e. Gwen's cousin.
And his name was... Ernest. Now they can all get married.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx) |
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