A Handful Of Dust

  • 1988
  • 1 HR 58 MIN
  • PG

This film version of what many consider Evelyn Waugh's finest novel is the handiwork of Derek Granger and Charles Sturridge, the producer-director team responsible for "Brideshead Revisited," the popular TV adaptation of another Waugh novel. Reteaming James Wilby and Rupert Graves, the lovers in 1987's MAURICE, the film is mounted in lavish Merchant-Ivory...read more

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This film version of what many consider Evelyn Waugh's finest novel is the handiwork of Derek Granger and Charles Sturridge, the producer-director team responsible for "Brideshead Revisited," the popular TV adaptation of another Waugh novel. Reteaming James Wilby and Rupert Graves, the

lovers in 1987's MAURICE, the film is mounted in lavish Merchant-Ivory fashion and re-creates the well-appointed London drawing rooms, sumptuous manor houses, and arid gentility of the British upper class circa 1932. Wilby is the lord of a gothic monstrosity in southern England called Hetton

Abbey, whose upkeep devours most of the family's resources, but which Wilby loves as dearly as his family--young son Kyle and beautiful wife Thomas. It's not long, however, before everything Wilby holds dear begins slipping away from him. Thomas has an affair with a handsome but dim social

climber, Graves; Kyle is killed in a hunting accident; and Wilby is faced with the possibility of losing Hetton Abbey. Many devotees of the novel have been disappointed by Sturridge's film, finding it fails to capture Waugh's biting satire. While retaining much of Waugh's dialog and keeping much

of the story intact, Sturridge has, nevertheless, altered the tone of the proceedings. Though something is lost in the transition form novel to movie, A HANDFUL OF DUST is still a tale of horrible selfishness and cruelty. The period production design is excellent, and the photography is beautiful,

both in its misty English country scenes and in its lush South American jungle settings. The costumes received an Oscar nomination.

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