A Man of No Importance
Time Out saysA modest attempt at retelling the life of Oscar Wilde through the parallel experiences of a Dublin bus conductor. 1963: Alfie Byrne (Finney) enlivens the passengers on the Number 34 route by reciting poetry, but decides to stage Wilde's Salome after punching the ticket of a beautiful provincial girl, Adele (Fitzgerald). Alfie's sister (Fricker) senses matrimony in his new infatuation, though this is hardly likely as Alfie refers to his bus driver as 'Bosie' (Sewell), and diffidently frequents gay pubs. Soon the stage production is threatened by the local Queensberry in the form of a butcher (Gambon) outraged at being cast as Herod, and by Aubrey Beardsley's illustrations for the play. Rehearsals grind comically on while various hetero and homosexual revelations provoke a green carnation, an assault, a suicide attempt and a cautious, sexless entente. If the basic premise is far-fetched, the dialogue is often deftly literate. Finney is in fine form, but his accent is all over the place.