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Gentlemen Don't Eat Poets (1995)

The Grotesque (original title)
Sir Hugo (Sir Alan Bates) is more interested in reconstructing dinosaur bones than in paying attention to his wife, Lady Harriet (Theresa Russell). He's not thrilled when daughter Cleo (... See full summary »


John-Paul Davidson


Patrick McGrath (novel), Patrick McGrath (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Alan Bates ... Sir Hugo Coal
Theresa Russell ... Lady Harriet Coal
Sting ... Fledge
Lena Headey ... Cleo Coal
Jim Carter ... George Lecky
Anna Massey ... Mrs. Giblet
Trudie Styler ... Doris
Maria Aitken ... Lavinia Freebody
James Fleet ... Inspector Limp
Steven Mackintosh ... Sidney Giblet
John Mills ... Sir Edward Cleghorn
Chris Barnes Chris Barnes ... Johm Lecky
Timothy Kightley Timothy Kightley ... Harbottle
Richard Durden ... Sykes-Herring
Nick Lucas Nick Lucas ... Hubert Cleggie


Sir Hugo (Sir Alan Bates) is more interested in reconstructing dinosaur bones than in paying attention to his wife, Lady Harriet (Theresa Russell). He's not thrilled when daughter Cleo (Lena Headey) brings home her betrothed, Sidney (Steven Mackintosh), who aspires to be a poet. The new butler, Fledge (Sting), provides Lady Harriet with the attention she's been missing, and then seduces Sidney. Did he have a role in Sidney's disappearance as well? Written by Dennis Lewis <dsl@sprynet.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

frame up | cool | weird | creepy | poet | See All (157) »


Beneath the surface of respectability lies the shadow of our darker side.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and some gore | See all certifications »






Release Date:

7 March 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gentlemen Don't Eat Poets See more »

Filming Locations:

Norfolk, England, UK

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



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Did You Know?


Fledge: He wanted me to light his lamp.
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Crazy Credits

At the end of the song in the closing credits, there is an off-screen exchange of dialogue between Fledge and Sir Hugo: "More tea, Sir Hugo?"; "Yes, Fledge, thank you". See more »

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User Reviews

Odd and memorable with a touch of brimstone and a dash of treacle
17 December 2013 | by clarkejbSee all my reviews

I have a theory about why Sting and Trudie made this move: I think they became involved with the film for sentimental reasons. As far as I know, Sting and Trudie fell deeply in love during the time in which Sting made the movie, "Brimstone and Treacle." There are significant differences between that film and "Gentlemen Don't Eat Poets," but there are a few striking similarities. In both films, Sting portrays a sexy, mysterious, and sinister character who becomes involved with an unsuspecting family. Both characters take on a role of servitude only to wreak havoc on the respective families for personal gain. The two characters also torment a child of the respective families. I think these character elements attracted Sting and Trudie to this project, and I suspect the film reminds both of them about an extraordinarily passionate part of their personal past together.

There are plenty of reasons to enjoy this film beyond any interest viewers may have for Sting as a celebrity. The acting is actually quite good, and the performance of Alan Bates is memorable. The costumes, the set, the score, and the photography are all excellent. Where the film falls short is the lack of an enjoyable story. There are really no likable "good guys." Instead, there are just victims and "bad guys." At the same time, the viewing experience is more weird than dark. I think viewers are most likely going to ask the question, "What did it mean?" I cannot answer that question, but I would like to point out that this film is the last significant film role performed by Sting.

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