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The Dresser (1983)

PG | | Drama | 6 December 1983 (USA)
An effeminate personal assistant of a deteriorating veteran actor struggles to get him through a difficult performance of King Lear.

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(screenplay)
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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Sir
...
...
Zena Walker ...
...
...
...
Betty Marsden ...
Violet Manning
Sheila Reid ...
Lydia Gibson
Lockwood West ...
Donald Eccles ...
Mr. Godstone
Llewellyn Rees ...
Horace Brown
Guy Manning ...
Benton
Anne Blackman ...
Beryl (as Anne Mannion)
Kevin Stoney ...
C. Rivers Lane
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Storyline

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 xenophil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

What happens backstage is always true drama. And often pure comedy.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 December 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El vestidor  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$43,132 (USA) (11 December 1983)

Gross:

$5,310,748 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Rankcolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Orson Welles and Michael Caine considered collaborating on this in the early 80's. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[after the entire cast memorably puts forth excessive effort in trying to make a loud storm for a performance of King Laer]
Sir: WHERE... WAS... THE STORM?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Rather English Marriage (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

(We're Going To Hang Out) The Washing the Siegfried Line
(uncredited)
Music by Michael Carr
Lyrics by Jimmy Kennedy
Sung by Tom Courtenay (as Norman)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
tour de force theatre film
19 March 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

'The Dresser' is one of those films which are so perfect you really struggle to find something not to like about them. Written by Ronald Harwood (himself a former dresser to the legendary Donald Wolfit), it sparkles with energy and true love of life behind the footlights.

As 'Sir', the overbearing actor and main focus of the play, Albert Finney is a joy to watch - whether complaining about the lack of a storm during the 'blow, winds ...' bit of 'King Lear' or chatting to his faithful stage manager, Madge (Eileen Atkins, good as ever) about the old times. As Norman, his camp dresser, Tom Courtenay gives a fabulous performance, wiggling around at the beck and call of 'Lear', collecting a bottle to go at the pub, or bitchily disparaging the former Fool, Mr Davenport-Scott (often mentioned, but never seen!).

In an engaging support cast, there's Edward Fox as Oxenby (a typical arrogant second lead), Zena Walker as her Ladyship, Lockwood West as the replacement Fool, and many others.

This film has great energy, bringing with it some of the greasepaint of its stage origins, it is true, but being so well-acted you don't notice. Very well done indeed.


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