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The Dresser (1983)

PG | | Drama | 6 December 1983 (USA)
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ON DISC
Personal Assistant Norman (Sir Tom Courtenay) of deteriorating veteran actor Sir (Albert Finney) struggles to get him through a difficult performance of King Lear.

Director:

Peter Yates

Writers:

Ronald Harwood (screenplay), Ronald Harwood (based on a play by)
Reviews
Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Albert Finney ... Sir
Tom Courtenay ... Norman
Edward Fox ... Oxenby
Zena Walker ... Her Ladyship
Eileen Atkins ... Madge
Michael Gough ... Frank Carrington
Cathryn Harrison ... Irene
Betty Marsden Betty Marsden ... Violet Manning
Sheila Reid ... Lydia Gibson
Lockwood West Lockwood West ... Geoffrey Thornton
Donald Eccles ... Mr. Godstone
Llewellyn Rees Llewellyn Rees ... Horace Brown
Guy Manning Guy Manning ... Benton
Anne Blackman 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, Norman (Sir Tom Courtenay), is devoted to the brilliant but tyrannical head of the company. He struggles to support deteriorating star Sir (Albert Finney) 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:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 December 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El vestidor See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$43,132, 11 December 1983, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,310,748
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Rankcolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor for Sir Tom Courtenay and Albert Finney, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay, but failed to win any Oscars. 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

Sir: [addressing the theater audience during his curtain call, after the performance of "King Lear"] My lords, ladies and gentlemen... Thank you for the manner in which you have received the greatest tragedy in our language. We live in dangerous times. Our civilization is under threat from the forces of darkness. And we humble actors do all in our power to fight as soldiers on the side of right in the great battle. We are animated by no other desire than to take the works of the greatest ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Version of The Dresser (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

God Save the King
Music attributed to Henry Carey
Played by the theatre orchestra and sung by the theatre audience
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Finney and Courtenay Work Wonders Together
8 February 2008 | by evanston_dadSee all my reviews

"The Dresser" is a small but absolutely wonderful film, brilliantly acted by Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay. How in the world this tiny film attracted enough attention to garner five major Academy Award nominations back in 1983 is a mystery to me, but it's nice to know the Academy can be guilty of a display of good taste every once in a while (of course, they gave the award that year to "Terms of Endearment"-- after all, they don't want to be accused of showing TOO much taste).

Albert Finney is a drunken Shakespearean actor in a production of "King Lear"; Tom Courtenay is the man who works double time behind the scenes to keep this actor in front of the footlights. It's both hilarious and piteous to see Courtenay's character showering Finney's with attention and affection, only to see his efforts utterly unappreciated and dismissed, even up to the very bitter end. Finney and Courtenay work wonders together, and though Finney gets the showiest moments (he does get to recite Shakespeare after all), Courtenay is the heart and soul of the film.

Grade: A


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