- Director:Michael Caton-Jones
- Writer:Michael Thomas
- Cast:John Hurt,Joanne Whalley,Bridget Fonda
- Time:1h 55min
|Cast overview, first billed only:|
|John Hurt||-||Stephen Ward|
|Joanne Whalley||-||Christine Keeler (as Joanne Whalley-Kilmer)|
|Bridget Fonda||-||Mandy Rice-Davies|
|Ian McKellen||-||John Profumo|
|Leslie Phillips||-||Lord Astor (Bill)|
|Britt Ekland||-||Mariella Novotny|
|Daniel Massey||-||Mervyn Griffith-Jones|
|Roland Gift||-||Johnnie Edgecombe|
|Jean Alexander||-||Mrs. Keeler|
|Alex Norton||-||Detective Inspector|
|Ronald Fraser||-||Justice Marshall|
|Paul Brooke||-||John, Detective Sgt.|
|Jeroen Krabbé||-||Eugene Ivanov (as Jeroen Krabbe)|
|Keith Allen||-||Kevin, Reporter Sunday Pictorial|
|Ralph Brown||-||Paul Mann|
This film narrowly escaped an X rating in the U.S. because of some questionable footage during the Cliveden House orgy. Closer scrutiny revealed that two extras were having real sex on a piano in one of the background scenes. Even though they were blurry, the scene had to be trimmed for all general releases to avoid the restrictive rating, which BBFC censor James Ferman accomplished by defusing the light from a table-lamp in the foreground. The inquisitive-minded will find this sequence about forty-nine minutes and five seconds into the movie.
Although billed in the cast as "Matinee Idol", Trevor Eve's character is named David Fairfax, Jr. It is a reference to Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.'s real-life role in the Profumo affair. He was not named in the film for legal reasons.
It has been alleged that many British actors and actresses turned down roles in the movie because the subject could have cost them knighthoods and other honours. However, Ian McKellen, already a CBE, was knighted in 1991, two years after the film was made, and became a Companion of Honour in 2008. Leslie Phillips was awarded the OBE in 1998 and promoted to a CBE in 2008, while John Hurt was awarded a CBE in 2004 and knighted in 2015.
There were strenuous efforts made by many politicians to prevent the film from being made, even though the world-famous events it depicted had taken place more than a quarter of a century earlier. Sir Ian McKellen and Sir John Hurt received numerous letters from famous members of Parliament, asking them to decline their roles. Neither one did. McKellen replied politely to most of these letters; Hurt ignored them, and told journalists that their senders were hypocrites, who were merely anxious to prevent the truth from being told.
The film takes place from 1959 to July 30, 1963.
Stephen Frears was considered as director.
Produced in 1988 concurrently with a theatrical season in London for Sir Ian McKellen, who along with several co-stars, took part in assisting Sam Wanamaker's attempts to ensure the heritage of both the "Globe" and "Rose" theatres. This included several inspection visits that are recalled anecdotally by volunteers. Later, some co-stars attending the densely packed celebrity event, the "Save the Rose Theatre" campaign's public relations day in May 1989. This film was promoted to the media on the day, along with many others. (See Artist entries Das lange Elend (1989) and Heinrich V. (1989) as examples.)
British Conservative MP John Profumo was married to Valerie Hobson. Sir Ian McKellen, who played Profumo, later played James Whale in Gods and Monsters (1998). Whale directed Hobson in Frankensteins Braut (1935).
David Suchet was offered the role of Profumo, but turned it down.
Jean Alexander filmed her cameo in a day.
Emily Lloyd signed on to play Mandy Rice-Davies, but dropped out for a more lucrative part.
Joanne Whalley's husband at the time, Val Kilmer objected to his wife doing the nude scene. Harvey Weinstein hired a body double for the scene. When Joanne arrived on set, she wasn't happy with how the double looked. So Joanne ended up doing the nude scene herself.
Directorial debut of Michael Caton-Jones.