Movie Adaptations

Evelyn Waugh was born on October 28th, 1903 in London. He is know as one of the greatest comic novelists of the last century. A number of books have made it to the screen, in either television of film versions, which has helped to make him famous. One of the most popular was the 11-hour long adaptation of Brideshead Revisited, that was aired in 1981. But there have been a number of others.

Brideshead Revisited – film and TV serial

Brideshead Revisited was first broadcast by the ITV network in 1981. It starred Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews and was directed by Charles Sturridge. Originally, it was conceived as a six-hour series, but was eventually expanded into nine episodes of slightly less than an hour each. However, when it was broadcast it became 11 episodes. The series takes viewers from the 1920s to the early 1940s and charts the life and romances of the principle protagonist Charles Ryder along with his friendship with a family of wealthy English Catholics, the Flytes. The family lives in a palatial mansion called Brideshead Castle.

The novel was also made into a British drama field, but was not quite so well received. The setting for this adaption as well as the TV series was Castle Howard in North Yorkshire.

Bright Young Things – film

This is a 2003 British drama film written by Stephen Fry but based on the 1930 Evelyn Waugh novel, Vile Bodies. It provides satirical social commentary about the Bright Young People: young and carefree London aristocrats and bohemians. It also gives viewers an insight into society in general, in the late 1920s through to the early 1940s.

Decline and Fall….. of a Birdwatcher

This is a 1968 British comedy film directed by John Krish. Made with a budget of almost $2 million, it’s an adaptation of the Evelyn Waugh novel Decline and Fall.

A Handful of Dust – film

This is a 1988 British film directed by Charles Sturridge. It’s based on the novel written in 1934 by Evelyn Waugh. It was nominated for Best Costume at the 61st Academy Awards and Judi Dench won the BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress. The film tells that life of Tony Last, an English country gentleman and his wife Brenda.

The Loved One – film

This black and white comedy film was released in 1965. It’s about the funeral business in Los Angeles and based on the Waugh novel The Loved One: An Anglo-American Tragedy. Directed by British film-maker Tony Richardson, the screenplay was written by American satirical novelist Terry Southern and British author Christopher Isherwood.

Scoop – film

Scoop was a television film made in 1987. It was directed by Gavin Millar and adapted by William Boyd from the 1938 satirical novel Scoop. The story is about a reporter sent to the fictional African state of Ishmaelia by accident. There are a number of bizarre characters that appear in the film. An insane Swedish diplomat who goes mad after drinking too much absinthe. A German woman who claims to have lost her husband and the mysterious Mr Baldwin.