London, 1937. Mrs Laura Henderson, a woman of wealth and connections,
has just buried her beloved husband. And now she's bored.
At 69, she is far too energetic and vital to fade into gentle
widowhood. To the shock of her friends she decide to buy a
theatre - the Windmill theatre in the heart of Soho. She knows
nothing about running it, so she hires a manager: enter Vivian
Van Damm. His idea for Revudeville, or non-stop entertainment,
is a first, and the Windmill is packed - until other theatres
copy it. Then it's Laura's turn to devise another first -
having naked girls on stage!
ONE: MOVIE REVIEW
assumed “Mrs Henderson Presents” is one of those
arty-farty, literature-inspired films that are way beyond
your comprehension, then you are way wrong. Never mind that
BBC Films is one of its financers, this is one light-heartened
affair that will warms and entertain you at the same time.
on true events, “Mrs Henderson Presents” is about
a restless widow, Laura Henderson who bought over an abandoned
theatre and turned it into something so innovative and refreshing
with the help of her manager cum rival, Mr Vivian Van Damm
played respectively by Judi Dench (“Tomorrow Never Dies”)
and Bob Hoskins (“Unleashed”).
this is a Judi Dench’s vehicle is an understatement,
Dench is remarkably likeable as the witty and sometimes naughty
Mrs Henderson. And Bob Hoskins (who is also the executive
producer here) shares immerse chemistry with Dench whenever
the two banter and appeared on screen. Watch out for the young
leads, Will Young and Kelly Reilly who put in impressive performances
isn’t much narrative that will bore you in fact it’s
pretty engaging at times. Pay attention to the rib-tickling
conversation between Mrs Henderson and the Lord Chamber in
the tent scene. While the story is pretty much straightforward,
consider that nudity is a taboo subject in the conservative
English society in the 30’s, the Windmill theatre is
thus one of it’s kind to break the barrier.
there will be a certain crowd that will clamour after the
nudity bits (frankly there’s a generous dose) although
it’s done in the form of art (so as to make use of the
loopholes in the law).
the lack of glamourous set designs and glitz of prolific musical-movie
productions such as “Chicago”, “Mrs Henderson
Presents” shines instead with its lovable bunch of cast
and a simple storyline that tells the hardships of many people
who has in one way or another contribute to the success of
Windmill Theatre for over 30 years.
TWO: SPECIAL FEATURES
Director's commentary- A rather quiet commentary
by director Stephen Frears with long pauses in between. If
you are looking for insights or juicy bits about the nude
scenes, i'm afraid there isn't. Maybe Mr Frears is a bit shy
in front of the microphone.
of Featurette- An approximately 20 minutes featurette
that covers the cast & crew interviews, casting and design
etc. But far more interesting is the interviews with
the original Windmill girls from the 30's and 40's. Not really
an in-depth look at the history of the Windmill Theatre but
nevertheless, worth a peek.
To round off,
there's the trailer attached.
movie is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 only which is quite
a pity. A 5.1 surround transfer would have bring out the wonderous
song and dance pieces. There's a slight aged look on the transfer,
maybe it's just an added effect on the original film stock
to make it more realistic and authentic to that era.
DVD RATING :
by Linus Tee