Doing the right thing . . . integrity . . . respect of others . . . That’s not what the film “Mrs. Henderson Presents” says it’s about, but the message comes across clearly. This wonderful film brackets the time just before World War II and the London Blitz. As the countries of Europe brace for possible war again, it’s a good reminder of the desecration and devastation that could be waiting for us all around the world. The real Mrs. Henderson is no longer with us, but her spirit is enough to remind us of love, respect . . . and great entertainment.
My favorite quote from the film: “Why Mr. Van Damm, you are Jewish.”
The film features Dame Judi Dench as Mrs. Henderson and Bob Hoskins as Vivien Van Damm; they are both at the top of their game. Here is the official trailer: imdb.com/video/vi2955388441/
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 Vivien 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.
Director: Stephen Frears
Writers: David Rose (idea), Kathy Rose (idea), and Martin Sherman
Quotation from the film: “Who would have thought standing on the stage without any clothes on would be the safest place to be?” The film is based on real life events and everything hinges on having naked women on stage. This was against the British laws of propriety, and the law. Naked women have to be approved by Lord Cromer, the Lord Chamberland, (Christopher Guest. Guest is American and has done numerous parodies in America. He seemed right at home as the Posh and proper lord.
The search in the film was not for naked women, but naked women who were attractive and talented. The performer from the previous non-naked show, Maureen (Kelly Reilly) as the host, fit the personality bill along with the all the other naked participants.
I first saw Bob Hoskins in the 1980 Masterpiece miniseries “Flickers.” He starred with Frances de la Tour as producers of silent film productions. The pairing was odd and sweet and much like it is with Hoskins and Dench. In 1980 Peg and I created our video production business PNW Video Productions. We, too, were odd and sweet. I was odd and Peg was sweet.
“Delightful and feisty – the film and its star…
This film is a lot of fun. Judi Dench is great to watch as a brash, rich, sometimes naive woman who buys a theater as a hobby after her husband’s death. She adds fire and life to every scene she’s in and has a superb on-screen rapport with Bob Hoskins.
The nudity is very well handled. The audience was completely silent when the girls first appeared in all their God-given glory. I think that no one wanted to be heard reacting in any way. But after a while the nudity in the film became as secondary to the story as it did to the audience. You care about the characters and their relationships. When WWII starts up with all of Hitler’s insanity, they become the real focal points.
Go to this movie knowing what you’re in for; you’ll have a wonderful time. It is well-done and has a good story with terrific actors. There are some lines that are very, very funny. Audience members of all ages were clapping when it was finished and you will too.”
We found “Mrs. Henderson Presents” on Roku.