A man's youthful indiscretions come back
to haunt him in this droll drawing room comedy. Sir Robert
Chiltern (Hugh Williams) is a fine and upstanding British gentleman
who has distinguished himself in the political arena and is
selflessly devoted to his wife (Diana Wynyard).
However, it turns out that he wasn't
always a paragon of virtue; early in his career working with the
British cabinet, Chiltern sold some confidential information
regarding the Suez Canal, and Mrs. Cheveley (Paulette
Goddard) has made it clear to Chiltern that she knows what he
did and is willing to tell others about it. She agrees to keep
silent if he's willing to support a proposal currently being debated
in Parliament that would put a phony canal through Argentina.
A fearful Chiltern agrees, but his best
friend Viscount Goring (Michael Wilding) objects, and he tries to
persuade Mrs. Cheveley to rescind her blackmail threat, while
explaining to Lady Chiltern how a good man could do something so
wrong at some point in his life.
This was the third screen adaptation of
the sophisticated satire by Oscar Wilde.