6.8/10
1,498
26 user 12 critic

A Handful of Dust (1988)

PG | | Drama, Romance | 24 June 1988 (USA)
The wife's affair and a death in the family hasten the demise of an upper-class English marriage.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Tony Last
...
Brenda Last
Richard Beale ...
Ben
Jackson Kyle ...
John Andrew
Norman Lumsden ...
Ambrose
Jeanne Watts ...
Nanny
Kate Percival ...
Miss Ripon
Richard Leech ...
Doctor
Roger Milner ...
Vicar
Tristram Jellinek ...
Richard Last
...
Mrs. Rattery
...
John Beaver
...
Mrs. Beaver
...
Jock
...
Marjorie
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Storyline

We see the detritus of an abandoned camp in South America and a main character's hallucination. Then, the story beings. Tony and Brenda Last, lord and lady, live on his enormous estate with their young son. Tony's not much for parties, and Brenda joins London society, on the arm of a penniless man, John Beaver, a hanger-on at Tony's club. John is encouraged by his entrepreneurial mother, who sees a quid in Tony and Brenda. Brenda and John become lovers, Brenda spends more and more time in London, and Tony's without a clue. Then, bringing things to a head are tragedy, law suits, greed, and what should be a few-months' expedition to Brazil. We are each of us merely a handful of dust. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 June 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust  »

Box Office

Gross:

$1,560,700 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Fujicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The second of two 1980s British period films with the word "dust" in the title the first having been Merchant Ivory's Heat and Dust (1983) around five years earlier. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Benchwarmers (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Praise My Soul King Of Heaven
(uncredited)
Music by William Ringham
Words based on Psalm 103
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User Reviews

 
Classically English, if slightly untidy film
5 December 2007 | by (London, UK) – See all my reviews

The hammerblow of human cruelty dressed in the velvet glove of pre-war hoch-Englishness. It's distressing that terrible things happen to the pathetic yet likable protagonist Tony (James Wilby) - even more so that they are delivered in the slow drip of self-interested scheming rather than in galvanising dramatic confrontations.

Actually, Wilby is one of the two weak links of this film. He's not quite got the richness or range to suggest a redemptive development to his character. He's not sympathetic enough. The other might be Sturridge's peculiar, impressionistic direction that can fail to give the story enough propulsion.

What the film does have are a number of fine performances from a top-drawer supporting cast. One fears Alec Guiness may be a final-frame cameo, but his contribution is in fact at least as substantial as Brando's in Apocalypse Now. Kristin Scott Thomas is quite excellent, at once endearing and blindly self-interested. And I also liked very much Pip Torrens, a really sharp study of a new sort of British gent - modern and knowing, but no cad. 6/10


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