Set Fire to the Stars

Synopsis: In 1950, John Brinnan invited the highly acclaimed and infamous Dylan Thomas to New York for a series of poetry readings. Ignoring rumors of Thomas' frivolities back home, Brinnan has his hands full when the poet arrives. Desperate to get his watchful university chaplains off his back, Brinnan takes Thomas to his family retreat in the woods of Connecticut. But even in the middle of nowhere, the resourceful and cantankerous Thomas finds an audience for his art, passion, love and aggression...
Genre: Biography, Drama
Director(s): Andy Goddard
Production: Strand Releasing
  3 wins & 9 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
97 min

New York. Columbia. Cornell. Yale.

Boston, Harvard. Mount Holyoke.

Philadelphia. Washington. Chicago.

Iowa. Hobart. Florida.

Pomona. Santa Barbara. San Francisco.

You won't lose me to a ball game.

- I'm here and committed.

- Oh, please John,

we're in no doubt you're our man

to captain this ship.

Jack has told us all about you.

Jack I... I told them you were

a boy scout after my job.

Yale. Boston. Harvard. Mount Holyoke.

Philadelphia. Washington. Chicago.

Iowa. Hobart. Florida. Pomona.

Santa Barbara. San Francisco.

So, as incumbent of the Chair of Poetry,

how are you finding our students?

They have all the answers.

Read all the books and listened intently

but... sometimes it feels like

I'm teaching the same student.

And that's a bad thing?

New York. Columbia.

Cornell. Yale.

This man is a good writer.

What he doesn't know about

the written word...

Well, that's why I suggested him.

Look at you now, John. You have tenure.

It only took five years.

New York. Columbia. Cornell. Yale.

Boston. Harvard. Mount Holyoke.

Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago.

John and I met at Vassar.

I was Chair of the Editorial Board.

John ran a...

a kind of writers workshop.

I proofed his first poem in Helicon.

Boston. Harvard.

Mount Holyoke. Philadelphia.

Iowa. Hobart. Florida.

Pomona. Santa Barbara.

San Francisco.

Now, what of this visitor

you're proposing?

Now, I understand it's a little cavalier

to undertake a tour of

this scale in my first month

but the idea isn't new to me.

I've wanted to show him off

to America for an age.

So you're a fan.

I believe him to be the purest lyrical poet

in the English speaking world.

We're all a fan of his work...


Jack here tells me

your man has a reputation...

for 'roaring behaviour'.

Stories of pub-room escapades

that brought wives,

mothers and the London police running.

It is true that friends and colleagues

of my own in London talk of this...


Terrorizing events

and functions with his mischief.

Sounds fun.

Not when your job is at stake.

I think what the Dean

is trying to say is...

How do you propose to handle him?

I'll improvise.

Flippancy is the most hopeless form

of intellectual vice, Mr. Brinnin.

With all due respect, sir...

I am not naive to this.

Wasn't it Mark Twain who said,

"A lie can travel halfway

around the world

while the truth is still putting

on its shoes."

Get to the point, Mr. Brinnin.

It's just that the stories

we hear about him

this side of the world must be inflated,

otherwise how could they travel so far?

Yes, I'm excited and yes, I'm a fan,

but this is a great opportunity

for us all.

How many venues are booked?

Twenty-five so far.

New York. Columbia, Cornell.

Yale, Boston, Harvard, Philadelphia,

Washington, Chicago...

- Okay, okay...

- And more on the west coast.

We get it, Mr. Brinnin.


All hail, McBrinnin!

Thou shalt be king hereafter!

- They said yes?

- Yeah, no thanks to you.

"I'll improvise"? You son of a b*tch.

I thought Loomis was going to

have a heart attack.

Congratulations, champ.

This is your moment

in the sun, go for it.

You know what the best part is?

We get to work together after all.

Together? What do you mean?

Easy, Ahab, you still get

to reel in the big fish.

I'll just be riding shotgun

once in a while.

You know, a kind of

part time confederate.

Lighten up. It was either that or have

the old man ride your ass like Sea-biscuit

I'll calm any stormy weather

and keep the old man off your back.

Stormy weather?

You know what I'm talking about.

You make him sound like a monster.

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Andy Goddard

Andy Goddard (born 1968) is a British director and screenwriter, best known for writing and directing his feature debut Set Fire to the Stars (2014) and directing and co-producing his second feature A Kind of Murder (2016). Goddard has also directed multiple episodes of the ITV period drama series Downton Abbey. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Set Fire to the Stars" STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 6 Dec. 2022. <>.

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