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My Talks with Dean Spanley (2008)

Dean Spanley (original title)
PG | | Comedy, Drama | 12 December 2008 (UK)
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Set in Edwardian England where upper lips are always stiff and men from the Colonies are not entirely to be trusted, Fisk Senior has little time or affection for his son, but when the pair visit an eccentric Indian, they start a strange journey that eventually allows the old man to find his heart.

Director:

Toa Fraser

Writers:

Alan Sharp, Lord Dunsany (novel) (as Baron Dunsany)
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7 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeremy Northam ... Fisk Junior
Sam Neill ... Dean Spanley
Bryan Brown ... Wrather
Peter O'Toole ... Fisk Senior
Judy Parfitt ... Mrs. Brimley
Art Malik ... Swami Nala Prash
Ramon Tikaram ... Nawab of Ranjiput
Xavier Horan ... Harrington Fisk
Barbara Wilshere ... 1st Lady
Angela Clerkin Angela Clerkin ... 2nd Lady
Dudley Sutton ... Marriot
Shaughan Seymour Shaughan Seymour ... Wine Shop Proprietor
Charlotte Graham Charlotte Graham ... Woman in Cloisters
Haydon Downing Haydon Downing ... Boy in Cloisters
Miriama McDowell ... Foxy Lady
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Storyline

Each Thursday, a man approaching middle age calls upon his father, aged, caustic, nihilistic, and emotionally distant, perhaps from the loss of a son in the Boer War and his wife soon after. On this day, the son suggests they attend a visiting guru's lecture on the transmigration of souls. There they chat with a vicar and a soldier of fortune; dinner follows. Over glasses of Hungarian Tokay, the vicar, Dean Spanley, tells a story of friendship, freedom, and reincarnation. In what earthly way could this tale connect father and son? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

From the classic novel by Lord Dunsany See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some thematic material and mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [UK]

Country:

New Zealand | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 December 2008 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Dynas Spenlis See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,455,824
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The cricket in the ballroom scene is filmed in the same room of Elveden Hall, Suffolk, England, UK as the trade conference in Tangier in The Living Daylights (1987), and the balcony from where James Bond shoots General Pushkin can clearly be seen. See more »

Quotes

Wrather: It's the little things that try us, said the man of the pygmy judge.
See more »

Soundtracks

Oh Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?
Performed by Musica Sacra Orchestra (as Musica Sacra)
Written by William Boyce
See more »

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User Reviews

'Trippingly on the tongue'
13 September 2011 | by gradyharpSee all my reviews

Shakespeare addresses the joys of hearing the English language spoken as perfectly and beautifully as every actor does in this thoroughly delightful film DEAN SPANLEY: 'Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounc'd it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines.' Based on the novel 'My Talks with Dean Spanley' by the colorful writer Lord Dunsany (Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, July 24, 1878 in London, England, UK - October 25, 1957 (age 79) in Dublin, Ireland) and adapted for the screen with great dexterity and gentility by Alan Sharp, the story is a study in the meaning of reincarnation in the most delightful sense of the term!

Set in Edwardian England where upper lips are always stiff and men from the Colonies are not entirely to be trusted, Fisk Senior (Peter O'Toole) is caustic, nihilistic has little time or affection for his son Fisk Junior (Jeremy Northam) - they visit only on Thursdays and then in only the most routine of circumstances: even the housekeeper Mrs. Brimley (Judy Parfitt) knows to only fix one boring Hot Pot for them to eat. Fisk Senior seems to have placed all his hopes on his other son who was killed in the Boer War of 1899 to 1902. Fisk Junior encouraged by his friend Wrather (Bryan Brown) breaks tradition and takes his father to a talk by the guru Nawab of Ranjiput (Ramon Tikaram) where they hear about the Indian concept of reincarnation and the inferiority of cats. The lecture is attended also by a vicar named Dean Spanley (Sam Neill) and what follows is a series of conversations and revelations over glasses of Tokay that seem to open up the vicar's remembrance of past lives - a fact that eventually relates to Fisk Senior and manages to change the grumpy old man's outlook on life.

Directed by Toa Fraser with terrific atmosphere and Edwardian elegance, the actors are all superb, but one of the most satisfying aspects of this film is simply hearing a screenplay of perfect English spoken symphonically. It is a thoroughly delightful film on every level. Highly Recommended.

Grady Harp


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