27 November 2017

The Dresser

The Dresser 1983
  • Director: Peter Yates
  • Based on the book: no
  • Cast: Tom Courtney, Albert Finney, Eileen Atkins
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Tom Courtney – Unforgotten, Quartet, Flood, Whatever Happened to Harold Smith?, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Doctor Zhivago, The Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner
    • Albert Finney – Skyfall, A Good Year, Big Fish, Erin Brockovich, Breakfast of Champions, Cold Lazarus, Karaoke, Miller’s Crossing, Tom Jones
    • Eileen Atkins – Beautiful Creatures, Upstairs Downstairs, Robin Hood, Last Chance Harvey, Cranford, Cold Mountain, The Hours, Gosford Park, Wit, David Copperfield, Cold Comfort Farm, Wolf, Titus Andronicus
  • Why? a must for theatre lovers
  • Seen: 24 November 2017      

       Coincidentally we’ve been reading and seeing King Lear in the past month so this seemed an appropriate choice for the evening film.
       Sir (Finney) is a renowned Shakespearean actor in war torn England. Norman (Courtney) is his dresser.
       It opens with Sir doing Othello’s dying scene then tyrannising the other actors with insults.
       Sadly, Sir has gone mad. He wanders amongst burning bombed out buildings giving out free tickets to his performances. He rants and rages in the street and ends up in hospital, shouting Macbeth quotes while fighting against the tranquilising injections.
       Norman argues vehemently and campily against cancelling the night’s performance. Sir escapes from the hospital fully determined to go on stage.
       Norman cajoles, jollies and bullies Sir into getting ready for this, his 227th, performance of Lear.
       And indeed, in the midst of air raid sirens and falling bombs, the show does go on.
       Finney is almost unrecognisable but completely convincing. Courtney, as the prissy, limp-wristed, whiskey-nipping self-centred, melodramatic and utterly devoted dresser joins his long-distance runner, his fanatic revolutionary and his many other roles in another stellar performance.

4* of 5   

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