6.8/10
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26 user 12 critic

A Handful of Dust (1988)

The wife's affair and a death in the family hasten the demise of an upper-class English marriage.

Director:

Charles Sturridge

Writers:

Evelyn Waugh (novel), Tim Sullivan (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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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:
James Wilby ... Tony Last
Kristin Scott Thomas ... Brenda Last
Richard Beale Richard Beale ... Ben
Jackson Kyle Jackson Kyle ... John Andrew
Norman Lumsden Norman Lumsden ... Ambrose
Jeanne Watts Jeanne Watts ... Nanny
Kate Percival Kate Percival ... Miss Ripon
Richard Leech ... Doctor
Roger Milner Roger Milner ... Vicar
Tristram Jellinek Tristram Jellinek ... Richard Last
Anjelica Huston ... Mrs. Rattery
Rupert Graves ... John Beaver
Judi Dench ... Mrs. Beaver
Pip Torrens ... Jock
Beatie Edney ... 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:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 June 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,560,700
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Fujicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fifteen years after the release of this film, Stephen Fry, who plays Reggie, would write, direct and co-star in Bright Young Things (2003), an adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's earlier novel, Vile Bodies. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Messinger: Are you acquainted with a Nicaraguan who calls himself alternately Ponsonby or Fitzmaurice?
See more »


Soundtracks

Praise My Soul King Of Heaven
(uncredited)
Music by William Ringham
Words based on Psalm 103
See more »

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User Reviews

Oh my god - did they even see the same film as me?!
6 July 2002 | by felix-38See all my reviews

My personal opinion is that the acting in this film is brilliant and Evelyn Waugh would have been proud! It's true that the humour in the book has been toned down but everything else is there. And as for the acting - just witness Kristin Scott Thomas' amazing performance running the gammut of emotions all at once when she realises it isn't her lover but her son who has died. First there is fear, then relief, then guilt at her relief. Also James Wilby portraying a father dealing with grief yet trying to maintain the British stiff-upper lip. This is what real acting is about. Brilliant stuff. Now all we need is a decent DVD release. The German British import is a travesty with poor sound, the wrong aspect ratio, and a battered source print. Very sad.


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