It is those lingering memories, even more than Evelyn Waugh’s novel, that anyone attempting to turn “Brideshead Revisited” into a feature film for the first time naturally has to contend with. And so as not to contaminate his approach Julian Jarrold, the director, studiously avoided the mini-series — all that elegiac emotion, spread out over 659 languorous minutes — and returned to the book.
“It exposed some of the myths I’d had about ‘Brideshead,’ ” Mr. Jarrold said of his rereading. “I’d had the memory of it being a nostalgia trip about the passing of English life and a bygone era, a glorification of aristocracy — about people wearing odd clothes and poncing around Oxford.” That was part of it, he said. But there was also a bite and a sharpness that are as relevant now as they were in 1945, when the novel was published.