Monday, October 05, 2020

Oscar Wilde, Vaughan Wilkins and Dangerous Exile


I have mentioned the historical novelist Vaughan Wilkins, whose career flourished for 20 years or more from the mid 1930s, a few times here.

One post was about his first novel, And So - Victoria, which the censors of the day thought far too disrespectful of the royal family to be filmed. And I also went to a Nottinghamshire village to photograph his grave.

A film was later made of one of his later books - Dangerous Exile was an adaptation of the novel A King Reluctant.

You can find Dangerous Exile on YouTube. Richard O'Sullivan, the hardest working British child actor of the 1950s, plays the Dauphin, the young son of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, who has been smuggled out of his prison in revolutionary France.

It's not a great film, but I did spot something interesting in the opening titles the other day: Vyvyan Holland is credited as historical adviser.

Vyvyan Holland was one of the sons of Oscar Wilde. He turns out to have several such credits on IMDB, including one for The Trials of Oscar Wilde, in which Peter Finch played his father.

At start of the 19th century Europe was alive with tales that the Dauphin had escaped his captors and with young men who claimed to be him. 

They even reached America - think of 'the dolphin' in Huckleberry Finn.

But recent DNA analysis of what has always been thought to be the boy's heart confirmed that he had died in France in 1795.

What is it with revolutions and killing children?

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