Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005)
April 21, 2006 at 7:00 and 10:00pm in 26-100 and
April 23, 2006 at 7:00pm in 26-100.
A British director with an astoundingly eclectic body of work, Stephen Frears (My Beautiful Laundrette, High Fidelity) has never made the same film twice. With Mrs. Henderson Presents, Frears has taken several genres -- including costume drama and the gently naughty Brit-com (a la The Full Monty or Calendar Girls) and crafted a breezy but affecting entertainment that hides a surprising emotional heft in its third act. Based on the true story of London's Windmill Theater, the film stars Judi Dench as Laura Henderson, a widowed society woman in the 1930s who purchases the abandoned West End venue as a means to help her pass the time. She enlists experienced stage producer Vivian Van Damm (Bob Hoskins, who also produced the film) to aid her in creating Paris-inspired vaudeville revues -- which break taboos in the staid English society of the time by featuring artfully posed nude women amidst the musical shenanigans. The shows become wildly successful with soldiers during WWII, but the horror of the Blitz brings trauma to the intrepid stage troupe. [rottentomatoes.com]
"Filled with delicious lines and intricate relationships, director Stephen Frears guides this British period piece set just before the outbreak of World War II as smoothly as a ripe piece of French brie is washed down by a good glass of red wine."
-- Louise Keller, Urban Cinefile. Read this review.