Austin Chronicle

DIRECTED BY: Michael Caton-Jones

REVIEWED: 12-01-97

Joanne Whalley-Kilmer, Bridget Fonda, John Hurt, Jeroen Krabbe, Ian McKellen, Britt Ekland, Roland Gift

In these days of Independence Day-like promotion of blockbuster films, it's easy to overlook the amazing grace of less-trumpted works like Scandal. A scrumptuous detailing of the scandalous affair that brought down England's Cabinet Minister John Profumo, in Scandal director Caton-Jones has faithfully recreated early Sixties swinging London, with its East End nightlife, ska clubs, and girls galore. Joanne Whalley-Kilmer and Bridget Fonda are impeccably cast as the lush, sensual Christine Keeler and the alluring Mandy Rice-Davies, two working class showgirls who find themselves as escorts and consorts to Russian attachés and drug drealers as well as members of Parliament. John Hurt portrays Dr. Stephen Ward, a London physician of little money but immense charm... and a knack for finding attractive girls to keep around for decoration and company. The parties seem to never end, but when they do, the fragile structure Ward built shatters, leaving him accused of treachery and abandoned by the high society that had once flocked to him. Casting is impeccable -- Ian McKellen's obsequious Minister of War John Profumo, Roland Gift's upstart lowlife, Jeroen Krabbe's moody Russian diplomat -- the settings evocative, and the costuming and make-up perfectly catching the overdone look of the times. (Bridget Fonda's Mandy Rice-Davies, decked out in a maribou pillbox hat, has a wickedly scene-stealing wave to the TV cameras as she exits the courtroom.) Better yet, the story carries its high standards all the way through to its sad, lonely ending. (Available in R and Unrated versions.)

--Margaret Moser

Other Films by Michael Caton-Jones
Rob Roy
The Jackal

Film Vault Suggested Links
The Crucible
Without Limits

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