In 1963, the conservative British government was shaken to its foundations by the Profumo Scandal. The central character in this disastrous affair was John Profumo, Britain's minister of war, who had become sexually involved with call-girl Christine Keeler, whose "sponsor" was high-priced osteopath Dr. Stephen Ward. Fancying himself a dashing international adventurer, Ward had also offered Christine to alleged Soviet spy Eugene Ivanov. Another of Ward's stable, Mandy Rice-Davies, allegedly had slept with numerous British and American luminaries. The whole sordid story, which ended with Ward's suicide and Profumo's public disgrace, was recounted with relish in director Michael Caton-Jones's Scandal, which featured John Hurt as Stephen Ward, Joanne Whalley-Kilmer as Christine Keeler, Ian McKellan as Profumo, Bridget Fonda as Mandy Rice-Davies, and Jeroen Krabbe as Ivanov. In its original form, the film was ripe enough to court an X-rating; post-production trimming enabled it to squeak by with an R.
by Hal Erickson synopsis