5.6/10
574
8 user 11 critic

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 »

Director:

John-Paul Davidson

Writers:

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

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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 »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 March 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gentlemen Don't Eat Poets See more »

Filming Locations:

Norfolk, England, UK

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$35,855

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$35,855
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Fledge: He wanted me to light his lamp.
See more »

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

 
Read the book, skip this movie
4 July 2009 | by ofumalowSee all my reviews

It's very difficult to dramatize novels hinging on an unreliable narrator without losing their essence. David Cronenburg did a brilliant job with Patrick McGrath's "Spider," in part by turning the narrator's garrulous on-page viewpoint almost entirely visual. But this adaptation of another excellent McGrath novel (my favorite) doesn't work remotely as well.

Where the book is a fiendishly misleading quasi-Gothic that turns out to be quite something else, the movie plays like a routine naughty costume intrigue, part "romp," part Agatha Christie. Despite the very interesting cast no one is particularly good (and Theresa Russell gives one of her really bad performances, which unfortunately by now outnumber her few very good ones). The story's original macabre psychological intricacy is lost in favor of something much more broad, and the book's key revelation simply gets lost in the uninspired shuffle.

It's watchable enough if you're not expecting much, and should you care, on a couple occasions Russell and Sting bare nearly all. But you're much better off reading McGrath's slim, sardonic, nasty little novel, which is both a subtle parody of Gothic literature and a great piece of perverse unreliable-narrator gamesmanship.

P.S. You know a movie has misfired when despite such notable actors it goes through so many desperate name changes: Debuting as "The Grotesque" (its source name), barely released to theaters as ""Gentlemen Don't Eat Poets," then to video as "Grave Indiscretions."


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