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Duet for One is a 1986 British drama film adapted from the play, a two-hander by Tom Kempinski, about a world-famous concert violinist named Stephanie Anderson who is suddenly struck with multiple sclerosis.[3] It is set in London, and directed by Andrei Konchalovsky. The story is based on the life of cellist Jacqueline du Pré, who was diagnosed with MS, and her husband, conductor Daniel Barenboim, and only marginally fictionalized.

Duet for One
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAndrei Konchalovsky
Produced by
Written byTom Kempinski (play and screenplay)
CinematographyAlex Thomson
Edited byHenry Richardson
Distributed byGolan-Globus Productions Ltd.
Release date
25 December 1986 [1]
Running time
107 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office$8,736 [2]


Stephanie Anderson, a world-famous violinist, becomes unable to play because of multiple sclerosis. A depressed psychiatrist she sees is unable to help with her rage and frustration. Her star pupil, realizing he will learn nothing more, leaves her. Her husband departs with his young secretary, and her accompanist dies. Her fierce desire to be alone in her pain alienates everybody except her faithful maid. She gives all her musical effects to a totter (an itinerant scrap merchant), who she asks into her bed as well. Watching a videotape of a concert triumph, she takes an overdose but the maid breaks in to try and save her. In an epilogue, which may be a dream, the psychiatrist has become a friend while her ex-husband and former pupil come back to see her, as does the ghost of her accompanist.

Primary castEdit


The movie gained positive reviews.[5][6][7]


Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama Role: Julie Andrews (Nominated)[8]

Stage playEdit

Duet for One premiered at the Bush Theatre in 1980 with Frances de la Tour and David de Keyser in the leading roles. Kempinski and de la Tour were married at the time, and he wrote the role with her in mind. It had successful runs in the West End and on Broadway.[9] A major revival was staged by the Almeida Theatre in 2009, starring Juliet Stevenson and Henry Goodman. This revival too was lauded by the critics, and it subsequently transferred to the Vaudeville Theatre in the West End.[10]


  1. ^ "Alphabetical Movie Index, A-Z". Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  2. ^ Duet for One at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ Christon, Lawrence (23 May 1985). "The Diminuendo Of 'Duet For One' - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  4. ^ Mitchell, Laura R. (2 August 2007). "Clarifying A Few Facts About Ms, 'Duet For One' - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  5. ^ Thomas, Kevin (25 December 1986). "Movie Review: 'Duet For One': A Four-hankie Drama Of The Past - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  6. ^ Maslin, Janet (13 February 1987). "Movie Review - Duet For One - FILM: 'DUET FOR ONE' -". Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger (20 September 2013). "Duet for One Movie Review & Film Summary (1987)". Roger Ebert. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ Sullivan, Dan (23 February 1985). "Stage Review: A Gripping Duel For Two In 'Duet For One' - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  10. ^ Michael Billington (30 January 2009). "Theatre review: Duet For One / Almeida, London | Stage". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 September 2013.

External linksEdit