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12 user 4 critic

Babs (2017)

A drama about the life and career of actress Barbara Windsor.

Director:

Dominic Leclerc

Writers:

Tony Jordan, Barbara Windsor (based on book by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Samantha Spiro ... Babs
Charlie Archer Charlie Archer ... Scott Mitchell
Nick Moran ... John Deeks
Honor Kneafsey ... Teen Barbara
Leanne Best ... Rose Deeks
Florence Keen ... Child Barbara
Nathan Harmer Nathan Harmer ... Brian Mickey
Marty Cruikshank Marty Cruikshank ... Aida Foster
Peter Hamilton Dyer Peter Hamilton Dyer ... Producer
Matthew Bates Matthew Bates ... Rosie's Lawyer
Robert East ... Divorce Judge
Lewis Kirk Lewis Kirk ... Johnny Brandon
Cally Lawrence Cally Lawrence ... Wardrobe Mistress
Jaime Winstone ... Barbara
Sue Elliott-Nichols ... Shoe Shop Manageress
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Storyline

In 1993 middle-aged actress Barbara Windsor sits on a stage, conversing with John Deeks, the dead father who recognized her talent as a child but disappeared from her life after her parents divorced, her mother giving her her stage name. From stage school Barbara starts singing at Ronnie Scott's club, where she meets the charming but crooked Ronnie Knight, ending up a pregnant prisoner's wife, in need of an abortion. Things look up when she joins Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop group and gets a part in Lionel Bart's 'Fings Ain't Wot They Used to Be'. Film and television parts slowly come in, notably the 'Carry On' franchise, and despite Joan's warning that Barbara may be type-cast as the perpetual dumb blonde Barbara is smart enough to exploit the persona, acquiring a handsome young husband and becoming a national treasure. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Samantha Spiro first played Barbara Windsor in 1998 at the Royal National Theatre in Terry Johnson's "Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick". When Johnson adapted the play for television, as Cor, Blimey! (2000), Spiro reprised the role. See more »

Connections

References Sparrows Can't Sing (1963) See more »

User Reviews

 
Self-conscious, Self-indulgent, Self-serving. Public masturbation.
11 July 2018 | by kitellis-98121See all my reviews

A heinously self-indulgent love letter to herself from Barbara Windsor, penned by her long-time friend and collaborator, Tony Jordan, with heavy input from herself including far too many cameo appearances speckled throughout.

If the subject matter wasn't so self-serving, and if it hadn't already been done better previously (also with Ms Windsor in a cameo as herself), this might have been a little less vomit-worthy, since technically it is a pretty well-made film with excellent cinematography, production design, and editing. There are also some very good performances.

However, the structure of this piece is annoyingly self-conscious, with a middle-aged Babs (and occasionally the elderly one played by herself) interacting with younger incarnations of herself and other characters from her past, all backstage at a seedy theatre, as she narrates, converses, and analyses her way through a history of daddy-issues and gangster boyfriends, with occasional shrill renditions of "Sunny Side of the Street" to alleviate the tedium.

Essentially this is written and structured like a stage play, and it would probably have worked much better in that medium. On film, however, it comes off as tacky, forced, and muddled.

As well as having far too many actresses playing Ms Windsor, including herself - often all at the same time - there are also archive film clips of her, giving us in the end a rather unpleasant case of too-much-Babs-itus!

The final embarrassing self indulgence occurs at the very end when the real Barbara Windsor steps into a spotlight and sings "Sunny Side of the Street" to an audience of her friends and family, including Tony Jordan.

All in all, then, a cinematic circle-jerk. Sometimes it's a good selling point for a movie to recommend that you bring plenty of Kleenex. Not in this case!


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 May 2017 (UK) See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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