Multiple Oscar nominee Peter O'Toole adds yet another offbeat role to his long resume with the mystical comedy-drama Dean Spanley.
Adapted from Lord Dunsany's popular novella My Talks with Dean Spanley and helmed by Toa Fraser, the film stars O'Toole as Horatio Fisk, an irascible, cantankerous septuagenarian living out his final days at the turn of the 20th Century.
Despite his distant and slightly strained relationship with his son Henslowe (Jeremy Northam), Horatio willfully joins the young man on regular outings; the tedium and monotony of these routines eventually grow so overwhelming, however, that the two decide to attend a lecture on the Transmigration of Souls by a visiting Hindu Swami.
At the meeting, their paths intersect with the eccentric Dean Spanley (Sam Neill), and a friendship blossoms between Spanley and Henslowe.
When Spanley joins Henslowe for a private dinner, and accepts his invitation to sample a rare Hungarian wine known as the Imperial Tokay, Spanley instinctively brings forth reminiscences of a prior life lived out as a canine - and his recollections hold a rather bizarre connection to Horatio's familial past.