- 1 hr 55 min
Scandal is a 1989 British drama film directed by Michael Caton-Jones and starring John Hurt, Joanne Whalley, Bridget Fonda, and Ian McKellen. The film is based on the real-life scandal involving the British government official John Profumo and his affair with Christine Keeler. The movie is set in London in the early 1960s, during the height of the Cold War. John Hurt plays Stephen Ward, a society osteopath and artist who mixes in high society circles. He becomes friends with Jack Profumo, played by Ian McKellen, the Minister for War in the British government. Ward introduces Profumo to a young woman named Christine Keeler, played by Joanne Whalley, who is working as a showgirl in a club. Profumo and Keeler begin a brief love affair that quickly becomes public knowledge.
The scandal that ensues shakes the British government to its core. Profumo initially lies to Parliament about the affair, but he is eventually forced to resign in disgrace. Ward is also implicated in the scandal and is put on trial for living off the immoral earnings of prostitutes. Keeler, meanwhile, is caught up in a web of lies and deceit, and becomes the subject of intense media scrutiny.
The film is shot in a classic 1960s style, with bright colors and bold patterns. The costumes and sets are all perfectly period-specific, evoking the glamour and excitement of the era. The soundtrack is also filled with classic 60s tunes, which help set the scene.
At its core, Scandal is a tale of power, sex, and the corrupting influence of both. It shows how the sins of a few individuals can have far-reaching consequences, and how the truth can be distorted and manipulated for political gain.
John Hurt gives a powerhouse performance as Stephen Ward, portraying him as a complex and sympathetic figure. Despite his flaws, Ward is ultimately a tragic character, brought down by his association with the wrong people. Joanne Whalley is also excellent as Christine Keeler, bringing a sense of vulnerability and sexiness to the role. Bridget Fonda, in her feature film debut, gives a solid performance as Mandy Rice-Davies, Keeler's best friend and fellow showgirl.
The supporting cast is also strong, with Ian McKellen giving a memorable turn as Jack Profumo. Other notable performances include those of Britt Ekland as Mariella Novotny, a model who becomes involved with Ward, Leslie Phillips as Lord Astor, and Jeroen KrabbÃ© as Eugene Ivanov, a Soviet spy who is also involved in the scandal.
Overall, Scandal is a well-crafted and engaging film that takes a fascinating look at a pivotal moment in British history. It expertly captures the glamour and intrigue of the 60s, while also delving into some weighty themes. The performances are all top-notch, and the direction and cinematography are both impressive. It's a must-see for fans of political dramas and period pieces alike.