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Mrs. Henderson Presents (Widescreen Edition)
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- Commentary by director Stephen Frears
- Making-of featurette
Top Customer Reviews
London, 1937, and Laura Henderson, having lost her only son in WW I is discovered at the graveside of her recently departed husband. Not wanting to be stuck with the British widow stance, she decides on a hobby to occupy her time: she buys, renovates and readies a theater in the West End of London, hires Vivian Van Damm (Bob Hoskins) to be her impresario and the two successfully begin a music hall type of entertainment. Their efforts are soon so imitated that their income falters, giving Mrs. Henderson a new concept: she will introduce full nudity into her theater to replace the French postcard surrogates the soldiers carry. Mrs. Henderson is indefatigable, has a laceratingly funny relationship with Van Damm, and even manages to cajole the politicians to go along with her 'new concept'. By now WW II is at it s peak and despite the London blitzkriegs the theater manages to survive, but not without some sacrifices and some self-revelations between Mrs. Henderson and Van Damm. There are many little subplots involving the company of performers, but they all blend nicely into the poignant story.
Judi Dench is absolutely radiant in this role, a role that allows her to cover a wide gamut of moods, each of which she handles expertly.Read more ›
Based more on actual events, and also set in the late 1930s/early 40s, MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS has wealthy Laura Henderson (Judi Dench), on the death of her husband, purchasing and renovating a derelict cinema and renaming it The Windmill Theatre for want of anything more interesting to do in 1937. To manage the establishment from the outset, she hires strong-willed Vivian Van Damm (Bob Hoskins), who insists on having final say on their stage performances' artistic content and the day-to-day running of the place. He begins by presenting an around-the-clock vaudeville show, the 24/7 nature of which is a groundbreaking concept. This keeps The Windmill the talk-of -the-town for awhile, i.e. until other London theatres begin to imitate, and then ticket sales fall off. To regain the advantage, Laura has the idea of putting naked actresses on-stage, but then must convince the dubious Van Damm and outmaneuver the absolute veto power of the censorous city authorities, here personified by Laura's friend, Lord Cromer (Christopher Guest).
The creators of MRS. HENDERSON PESENTS have taken timeline liberties. The real Mrs. Henderson actually acquired The Windmill site in 1931, opening first with a live play, "Inquest", which proved unsuccessful. After briefly returning to screening films, a new manager, Van Damm, produced and opened the non-stop "Revuedeville" in 1932.Read more ›
I love popular culture, especially intelligent popular culture, but I have become progressively less and less enchanted each year with the summer blockbuster films that we are saddled with and the bloated, overwrought holiday films we are given each November and December. MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS is the perfect tonic for anyone sickened by bombastic cinema, a small, lovely, and subtle film that tries to entice you with its story rather than its special effects or massive vistas. Its ambition is to tell a small, unique period story as well as possible. In this the film succeeds.
The film tells the story of how in 1938 a newly widowed woman (played by Dame Judi Dench), for want of anything more compelling to do after the death of her husband, buys and renovates a West End London theater, which she calls the Windmill. Dench's performance is marvelous and I was greatly heartened to see that she was rewarded with an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Mrs. Henderson hires promoter Vivian Van Damm, who persistently denies being Jewish, as artistic director and gives him unfettered control over every artistic aspect of the operation. Bob Hoskins does his usual superb job as Van Damm (am I the only one who is under the impression that he has looked almost exactly the same for thirty years?) and much of the appeal of the film derives from the complex-combative and respectful while at the same time distantly intimate-friendship and partnership that Henderson and Van Damm form. The initial innovation of the theater is to perform musical reviews 24 hours a day, but when other theaters begin to imitate them, their ticket sales begin to decline. Mrs. Henderson then suggests that they trump the competition by having nude girls on stage.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
this is a movie about ww11 bombing of London, and a theater having vaudeville acts and nude women and is based on a book WE NEVER CLOSED . Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mark E
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It has a great story line, mixture of comedy and emotion. I love how they bring empowerment through acknowledging the beauty of the body.Published 3 months ago by Emily Bee
A very good movie with very good acting.....wish it had been longer.
Do not understand some of the poor reviews by some of our stick-in-the-mud viewers. Read more
Got this move because of Judi Dench and the good reviews. This movie didn't quite go the way I expected. Read morePublished 7 months ago by nightrider2004
This is a great movie. Judi Dench is amazing as always and plays this part so well you are totally lost in the story. Wonderful acting by all. A great evenings entertainment.Published 7 months ago by Pamela A. Turner
I was surprised to learn this movie was based on an actual situation during WW II. It is well done & I enjoyed it but then I don't have the mainstream taste in movies, books, etc.Published 7 months ago by Mary B.
Great movie, lots of fun and great story....beware some tasteful nudity.Published 7 months ago by Magic132
I love Judi Dench! She is so amazing. I loved watching this movie. I've seen it a few times now and it still makes me laugh and cry.Published 8 months ago by Gena R. Martin
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