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The Dresser (1983)

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An effeminate personal assistant of a deteriorating veteran actor 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)
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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:
Albert Finney ... Sir
Tom Courtenay ... Norman
Edward Fox ... Oxenby
Zena Walker Zena Walker ... Her Ladyship
Eileen Atkins ... Madge
Michael Gough ... Frank Carrington
Cathryn Harrison ... Irene
Betty Marsden Betty Marsden ... Violet Manning
Sheila Reid 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 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:

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

The original Broadway production of "The Dresser" by Ronald Harwood opened at the Brooks Atkinson Theater in New York on 9th November 1981 and ran for 200 performances until 1st May 1982. The production was nominated for the 1982 Tony Award for the Best Play. 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

Madge: It is a disease.
Her Ladyship: What is?
Madge: Hopefulness.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Nanny: The Honeymoon's Overboard (1998) 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 masterpiece is a forgotten gem
4 July 2005 | by cigardenerSee all my reviews

This is a movie that deserves another look--if you haven't seen it for a while, or a first look--if you were too young when it came out (1983). Based on a play by the same name, it is the story of an older actor who heads a touring Shakespearean repertory company in England during World War II. It deals with his stress of trying to perform a Shakespeare each night while facing problems such as bombed theaters and a company made up of older or physically handicapped actors--the young, able bodied ones being taken for military service. It also deals with his relationship with various members of his company, especially with his dresser. So far it all sounds rather dull but nothing could be further from the truth. While tragic overall, the story is told with a lot of humor and emotions run high throughout. The two male leads both received Oscar nominations for best actor and deservedly so. I strongly recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys human drama, theater--especially Shakespeare, or who has ever worked backstage in any capacity. The backstage goings-on make up another facet of the movie that will be fascinating to most viewers.


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