Recently widowed well-to-do Mrs. Laura Henderson (Dame Judi Dench) 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 (Bob Hoskins) to run it, despite the fact the two don't seem to get along 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, Lord Rowland Baring, 2nd Earl of Cromer (Christopher Guest), who licenses live shows in Britain, is likely to have something to say about this. Luckily, Mrs. Henderson is friends with him.Written by
The incognito Mrs. Henderson, dressed as a dancing polar bear, was played by Dame Judi Dench, and not a stunt double. See more »
Alec Henderson (Mrs. Laura's son, killed by a German attack on France in 1915) is said several times to have been born in 1894, and this date is shown on his headstone. In fact he was born in 1888, and his headstone does not list any date. See more »
I am bored with widowhood. I have to smile at everyone. I never had to smile at everyone before. In India, there were always people to look down upon.
See more »
The music is superb, Fenton did a sterling job in providing the score for this enthralling musical. Judi Dench sits, as always, perfectly in the role of rebellious Laura Henderson, and her rapport with Bob Hoskins gives a punch to the storyline. The stunning Kelly Reilly combines her English-rose appearance with wartime tenacity and delivers a truly believable and moving performance throughout. Will Young, a surprise casting for many, heads the musical cast with an almost scarily convincing performance as the energetic performer, Bertie. He's rightly received glowing reviews after his substantial appearance in the movie, most notably from Dench and Hoskins themselves - inspired casting by Frears.
This film is a perfect example of typically British humour and attitudes, particular during WWII - In fact it's been a hit with many people from the era (when I went to see it I was surrounded not least by people of 60 and over who reacted to the film with raucous laughter and many a teary eye). I whole heartedly recommend this film to anyone with a love of music, comedy, history, Britain or simply bloody good acting.
71 of 80 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this