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Heat and Dust Movie Review

anne olivia christie scacchi

In the summer of 1963, there were few 22-year-old actresses on the planet with more charisma than Julie Christie when she popped up as Liz, luring Tom Courtenay's Billy Liar. Sparkling with health and joie de vivre, Christie starred in a dozen major films over a 15-year span, then was offscreen for nearly five years, an eternity for an actress in her 40s. Heat and Dust was the vehicle she selected for her return. She was still lovely, delightful, and charming as a researcher named Anne, but the script was stacked in favor of a NEW 22-year-old actress who was playing her Great Aunt Olivia: Greta Scacchi. The contemporary investigations of the free-spirited Anne simply didn't carry the narrative weight of her rambunctious ancestor of the 1920s. Olivia is an eager young bride when she first comes to India to join her husband, Douglas Rivers (Christopher Cazenove), a civil servant. Both Olivia and Anne are caught up in the spell of India, but neither is ever fully accepted there. Olivia has an affair with Nawab (Shashi Kapoor), a local ruler, and Anne, too, has a brief romance with a young man. But their restless, rebellious personalities keep them isolated and alone, at odds with the country they both love, and never quite fitting in anywhere. Heat and Dust launched Scacchi's international career and over the next decade she played more than 15 major roles that took full advantage of her stunning looks before she settled into secondary character parts by the time she was 34 (!). The intriguing script for this beautifully made Merchant/Ivory production is based on the novel by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.

1982 (R) 130m/C GB Julie Christie, Greta Scacchi, Shashi Kapoor, Christopher Cazenove, Nickolas Grace, Julian Glover, Susan Fleetwood, Patrick Godfrey, Jennifer Kendal, Madhur Jaffrey, Barry Foster, Amanda Walker, Sudha Chopra, Sajid Khan, Zakir Hussain, Ratna Pathak, Charles McCaughan, Parveen Paul; D: James Ivory; W: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Saeed Jaffrey, Harish Khare; C: Walter Lassally; M: Richard Robbins. British Academy Awards ‘83: Best Adapted Screenplay; Nominations: Cannes Film Festival ‘83: Best Film. VHS

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