A Handful of Dust

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Here we go again, with the inevitable follow-up to Brideshead Revisited: heritage, haircuts and hooray Henries. This time the country house is a Gothic pile called Hetton, where the 'madly feudal' Tony Last (Wilby) lives with wife Brenda (Thomas) and young son John Andrew. Brenda, out of boredom, has an affair with John Beaver (Graves), a common golddigger. As these are the '30s, she pays for her infidelity with the death of her son. Evelyn Waugh's novel is a savage, ironic indictment of worthless people, but you wouldn't know it from the film. Sturridge directs the proceedings with all the gob-smacked wonder of a stable-boy at the ball; everything is taken at face value. Only when Brenda thinks John Beaver has copped it, and is relieved to discover that it is John Andrew instead, do we register any moral disgust. Great performances, glorious scenery, a magnificent waste of time.

By: MS

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