A Handful of Dust | Chicago Reader

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Elegant but tedious, this Masterpiece Theatre-like mounting of Evelyn Waugh's famous (and partially autobiographical) novel about upper-class adultery in the 30s reunites the producer (Derek Granger) and one of the directors (Charles Sturridge) of Brideshead Revisited. Eileen Diss's production design is certainly handsome, as are the main actors (James Wilby and Kristin Scott Thomas as Tony and Brenda Last; Rupert Graves as John Beaver, Brenda's layabout lover), and the transposition of Waugh's satirical nastiness seems reasonably faithful, but as cinema this is for fans of Merchant-Ivory's congealed if polished miniatures—competent and intelligent, but also rather passionless and remote. With Judi Dench.

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