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The Dresser (1983)

PG | | Drama | 6 December 1983 (USA)
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2:42 | Trailer

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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

Plays by William Shakespeare that are performed, mentioned or referred to in this movie include "Othello", "Hamlet", "MacBeth", "Richard III", "King Lear", "As You Like It", and "The Merchant of Venice". Non Shakespearean plays included Sutton Vane's "Outward Bound" and "The Corsican Brothers". 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: Keep your teeth in!
Geoffrey: It's only when I'm nervous
Sir: You will be nervous. I guarantee it.
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

A Nice Cup of Tea
(uncredited)
Lyrics by A.P. Herbert and music by Henry Sullivan
Sung by Tom Courtenay (as Norman)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A delightful depiction of the acting world
21 August 2010 | by KnightsofNi11See all my reviews

What happens backstage is always true drama. And often pure comedy. Such is the case of The Dresser, a film about an effeminate wardrobe man who is devoted to the deteriorating lead of the acting troupe he travels with. The film takes place in one night about a particularly difficult performance of William Shakespeare's King Lear. Albert Finney plays Sir, the lead role of the performance. He is in no condition to perform such a difficult role, yet he perseveres anyways with the help of his Dresser, Norman (Tom Courtenay). The two powerful leads are the highlight of this beautiful film.

The Dresser is what acting is all about. It is an intriguing blend of film acting and stage acting. Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay give exquisite and robust performances. Their conflicting personalities make them a delightful pair to watch interact. The acting in this film has the kind of prowess and impact of a stage performance with its loud and exaggerated movements. This kind of acting only works in certain settings, and The Dresser is a perfect example of where it not only works but is very necessary. It allows for a detachment from reality, drawing one into the theatrical world, something which stands out in such a unique and perplexing way.

Peter Yates directs this film with precise and aesthetically glamorous grandeur. It is a grand film that doesn't go too far out of line and never gets lost in itself. Yates directs with a keen eye for subtle detail and sparkling brilliance. The film is written with the same kind of subdued wit and beauty, making the film fit together nicely. The dialouge is great and the actors who deliver it bring so much life to the characters and script that it makes for a brilliant expose of the acting world.

The Dresser is a great film that accomplishes beauty and immersion without an immaculate setting. The film is subtly fantastic. Definitely check this one out.


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