Mrs Henderson Presents

November 23, 2013 at 1:05 am | Posted in DVD Review, Film Review, Show Review | Leave a comment
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I watched the DVD of Mrs Henderson Presents the other day and was surprised at how modern things were during the late 30’s.

The story is based on the real Mrs Henderson, who really did buy a un-used theatre and put on nude revues, starting before World War II, going all the way through WWII, and beyond. In the period covered by the film, the girls – ‘all of good character’ – were not allowed to move! still: art; movement: lurid! Oh and Mrs Henderson funded what became the Royal Ballet! as her theatre needed dancers!! (I suspect she saw it and the revue as a way to channel her considerable wealth into a neglected segment of society when money was short and times were hard for women.)

Dame Judy Dench is Mrs Henderson, and Bob Hoskins is Vivian Van Damm – the much put upon theatre manager she hires. Kelly Reilly is Maureen – the first of the girls hired by Vivian. The three have some nice chemistry and the film progresses smoothly from there.

There is quite a bit of nudity: but it is mainly art !

It is a nice period piece that give a reasonably accurate view of life in the 30’s and 40’s. Worth getting the DVD out.

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The Turning Point

November 22, 2013 at 11:48 pm | Posted in Dance Review, DVD Review, Film Review | Leave a comment
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I finally got to see this on DVD the other day and was blown away.

The movie has a strong plot and some really good ballet.

Two women meet up again after many years apart when a ballet company comes to town. Both were friends and dancers in the ‘corp’, one went onto become a principal dancer, the other opted to have children and teach in her own ballet school. Now the latter’s daughter is at an age and skill level where she could turn ‘pro’. The company offers her a tryout. The rest of the story is the rough introduction into the life of a professional dancer, and her mother and god-mother working out some of their un-resolved issues.

Interspersed is some great ballet; practically everyone who has a dancing role was a professional dancer. Only the god-mother (and principal dancer) is played by a non-dancer: Anne Bancroft. The mother is played by Shirley McClaine. And the daughter is played by Leslie Browne.The featured dancers are a list of who’s who of North American based dancers; ‘the rest’ (my apologies but that is how they are credited) of the dancers come from the American Ballet Theatre.

The movie, made in 1977, is now a ballet historical artefact. The Madame Danilova character is Alexandra Danilova (Russian Imperial Ballet School & Ballet Russe) – playing herself. There is priceless footage of Mikhail Baryshnikov dancing the solo from Le Cosaire. Other dancers featured: Lucette Aldous (a Kiwi!), Fernando Bujones, Richard Cragun, Suzanne Farrell, Marcia Haydée, Peter Martins, Marianna Tcherkassky, Clark Tippet, and Martine Van Hame.

The film clearly influence the more recent Centre Stage.

A must see if you are interested in ballet and dance.

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