• 3 out of 5 stars
(1 user review)
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Caton-Jones' first feature is a serious, almost low-key affair, strong on period detail and imbued with a sense of genuine outrage on behalf of both the ruined Stephen Ward (Hurt) and the deranged and derailed Christine Keeler (Whalley-Kilmer) which lifts it above the merely exploitative. Both main performances are strong at the core of a still compelling story (Hurt in particular, a riveting jumble of weakness, seediness, vanity and kindness). Less satisfying are McKellen's Profumo, who looks more like a samurai warrior than a war minister; Bridget Fonda's Mandy Rice-Davies, and Jean Alexander's Mrs Keeler, who seem to have succumbed to the cutting-room jitter machine. Others must decide on the propriety of this cinematic exhumation; for those who weren't around at the time of the scandal in the early '60s, and even for those who were, it certainly makes dismaying if illuminating viewing.

Release details

Duration: 115 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Michael Caton-Jones
Screenwriter: Michael Thomas
Cast: John Hurt
Joanne Whalley-Kilmer
Bridget Fonda
Ian McKellen
Leslie Phillips
Britt Ekland
Daniel Massey
Roland Gift
Jean Alexander
Ronald Fraser
Jeroen Krabbe

Average User Rating

2.5 / 5

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To be frank the film is somewhat bland, barely scratching at the surface of what the viewer slowly realises is underneath; pure evil. It is obvious the people who have seen to it they rule us are totally without morals...and are using ordinary hard-working people to slave for them. Subsequent scandals have exposed more of the antics they get up to, but the media paint it up in such a way the public regard it all with amusement, not horror. And who owns the newspapers..... I think it's time a new version of the film be made, perhaps better - a TV series - was done, exposing the reality we were not allowed to see the last time. If nesseccary, use real porno-stars and X-rate it... but do it!