In a touring Shakespearean theater group, a backstage hand - the dresser, is devoted to the brilliant but tyrannical head of the company. He struggles to support the deteriorating star as the company struggles to carry on during the London blitz. The pathos of his backstage efforts rival the pathos in the story of Lear and the Fool that is being presented on-stage, as the situation comes to a crisis. Written by
The screenplay is by Ronald Harwood adapted from his own award-winning play, which first captivated audiences on the London and New York stage in 1980. At the time that this movie was first made and released, the play had been translated into twenty-three languages and had enjoyed tremendous success in capital city seasons throughout the world. See more »
After Sir and Norman leave the marketplace, they're passed by a Routemaster bus. These buses were first used in London in 1954, and weren't used outside London until the 1970's. See more »
[as a train is leaving a station]
Stop that train!
[the train stops at once]
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Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay are brilliant as Sir and his Dresser. Of course the play is brilliant to begin with and nothing can compare with the immediacy and collegiality of theatre, and I think you listen better in theatre; but on the screen we become more intimate, we're 'up-close' more than we are in the theatre, we witness subtle changes in expression, we "see" better as well as listen. Both the play and the movie are wondrous: moving, intelligent, illuminating--of the backstage story of the company, of historical context, of the two main characters, and of the parallel characters in "Lear" itself. If you cannot get to see it in a theatre (I don't imagine it's produced much these days) then, please, do yourself a favor, and get the video.
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