Recently widowed well-to-do Laura Henderson is at a bit of a loose end in inter-war London. On a whim she buys the derelict Windmill theatre in the West End and persuades impresario Vivian Van Damm to run it, despite the fact the two don't seem to get on at all. Although their idea of a non-stop revue is at first a success, other theatres copy it and disaster looms. Laura suggests they put nudes in the show, but Van Damm points out that the Lord Chamberlain, who licenses live shows in Britain, is likely to have something to say about this. Luckily Mrs Henderson is friends with him.Written by
While talking with the girls who will perform the nude tableaux, Vivian Van Damm compares them to works of art. "You are the Venus de Milo, the Mona Lisa..." When Maureen says the Mona Lisa wore a dress, Van Damm replies, "Some do, some don't." In the film, Mona Lisa (1986), Bob Hoskins played a chauffeur for an expensive London call girl, whom he came to think of as his "Mona Lisa." (Hoskins received his only Oscar nomination for the film.) See more »
Laura Henderson's husband died in 1919, she purchased the Palais de Luxe and turned it into the Windmill Theatre in 1931, and introduced the nude "tableaux vivants" in 1932. The movie depicts all these events as occurring after 1937. See more »
This film is a lot of fun. Judi Dench is great to watch as a brash, rich, sometimes naive woman who buys a theater as a hobby after her husband's death. She adds fire and life to every scene she's in and has a superb on screen rapport with Bob Hoskins.
The nudity is handled very well. The audience was completely silent when the girls first appeared in all their God-given glory. I think that no one wanted to be heard reacting in any way. But after a while the nudity in the film became as secondary to the story as it did to the audience. There are characters and their relationships that you care about and then WWII starts up with all of Hitler's insanity. They become the real focal points.
If you go to the movie knowing what you're in for, you'll have a wonderful time. It is well-done and has a good story with terrific actors. There are some lines that are very, very funny. Audience members of all ages were clapping when it was finished and you will too.
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