60 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic entertainment for all ages
This is a great movie,the fictionalised account of Laura Henderson a rich widow in the 1930's who bought the decrepit Windmill Theatre in Soho and turned into a legendary venue during the war years.The Windmills Reveue-deville shows were the first to show actual nudity on stage and became a sensation.All this is well put together in a great movie with outstanding...
Published on 28 Jan 2006 by shansu69
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cockle-warming story
A good, fun story, which raises a few laughs, and is almost worth 4 stars, in my (and my wife's) opinions. Well worth watching in a nice, warm lounge in deep mid-winter, with a bottle of red wine and some chocolates, cuddled up on the sofa with someone!
Published on 28 Oct 2007 by M. P. Barnes
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60 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic entertainment for all ages,
This review is from: Mrs Henderson Presents  [DVD] (DVD)This is a great movie,the fictionalised account of Laura Henderson a rich widow in the 1930's who bought the decrepit Windmill Theatre in Soho and turned into a legendary venue during the war years.The Windmills Reveue-deville shows were the first to show actual nudity on stage and became a sensation.All this is well put together in a great movie with outstanding performances from Dame Judi,Bob Hoskins as her right hand man and manager Vivian Van Damme the brains behind the operation,and singer Will Young playing a 1930's version of himself a posh,gay,chap ,it fairly zips along and is well worth watching certainly one for Sunday nights with the whole family in front of the tv.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You will love or hate this film.,
This review is from: Mrs Henderson Presents  [DVD] (DVD)This is one of those films which you either love or hate. It is based on a true story.
If you'd told me before I had heard of "Mrs Henderson Presents", that in one of the more moving and amusing films I would see this year, the actress playing a septuagenarian widow would completely steal the show from a bevy of attractive younger women who spend much of the film without their clothes, I would have found it hard to believe but the answer can be explained in two words - Judi Dench.
Dame Judi plays Mrs Lilian Henderson: the film starts with her husband's funeral, and shortly thereafter in one of the many sad parts of the film she flies to France to visit the grave of her only son, who had been killed in the first world war aged 21. "Bored with widowhood" and looking for something to do, she buys the Windmill theatre and hires Vivian Van Damm (Bob Hoskins) to run it. Come the second world war, she decides to entertain the troops by putting on displays of naked girls.
The film is at times very sad, and at others very funny. All the acting is superb, especially from Dench, Hoskins, Christopher Guest who plays the Lord Chamberlain, Thelma Barlow as one of Mrs Henderson's friends, plus Will Young and Kelly Reilly as cast members. Some people wondered if a more extreme parody of the Lord Chamberlain by soneone like John Cleese would have been funnier: personally I thought Christopher Guest's understated embarrasment and outrage worked better than a slapstick, over-the-top peformance would have.
This film could easily have been rude, cheesy, or unsophisticated, but it was none of those things. Clearly not everyone liked it, but a lot of other people did, and I was one of them. I think it deserved the critical acclaim.
74 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I'd rather drink Ink",
This review is from: Mrs Henderson Presents  [DVD] (DVD)Stephen Frears directs acting legend Dame Judy Dench in Mrs. Henderson Presents, a spectacular and thoroughly entertaining film that is an absolute delight from beginning to end. Expect Oscar nominations for both Bob Hopkins and the legendary Dench.
Based on a true story, the movie begins in 1937 when the wealthy Laura Henderson (Dench) has just been widowed. Refusing to go gently into widowhood, Laura heeds the advice of her friend Lady Conway (a riotous Thelma Barlow) and finds herself a hobby. But she just can't handle needlepoint, and being a board member on various charities just isn't her thing, so instead, she decides to buy a run down property on Great Windmill Street in Soho with the intention of turning it into a theater.
Of course, Mrs. Henderson knows nothing about running a music hall, so she enlists the help of Vivian Van Damm (Bob Hoskins), a currently unemployed theatre manager. The problem is that Laura and Vivian don't exactly see eye to eye - Vivian sees Laura as snotty and rude, a product of her privileged class, while Laura views Vivian as "Jewish" a cigar smoker who is kind of low class.
It doesn't help that they also end up clashing professionally. They're both strong willed individuals, who each have different artistic visions for the theater, with most of their time taken up arguing and trading acerbic barbs at one another. But eventually they manage to sort out their differences and make a go at it, and success comes quickly, with shows running almost continually. This daily novelty, however, can't withstand competition from movie houses and other vaudeville shows in the West End.
Laura decides to add nude young women to the mix, hoping that it will increase attendance, but her old friend the Lord Chamberlain (Christopher Guest) isn't wild about the idea. He tells her that he'll reluctantly license the show as long as the naked ladies stand perfectly still on stage, thereby skirting around the draconian English censorship laws.
Mrs. Henderson Presents is everything one should expect from a British film, and in the hands of a director of the caliber of Stephen Frears, the film is an absolute pleasure to watch. Spanning from the pre-war years up until the London blitz, the film captures the darker pulses of the Second World War, while also remaining strangely lighthearted in tone and character.
Thanks to a gorgeously fluid script by Martin Sherman, and the talented cast, the film is mostly pitch perfect. The musical interludes have a flashy charm there's the presence of fourteen vintage stage musical numbers, including Benny Goodman's Goody Goody and the classically jaunty Babies of the Blitz. The supporting players also lend a startling authenticity to the proceedings - Kelly Reilly is particularly memorable as a spunky Windmill girl and cute Pop Idol winner Will Young makes an appealing big screen debut as Bertie, the theater's resident male ingénue, who tells Laura that he's "of the other persuasion."
Mrs. Henderson Presents may be old-fashioned, but it's also witty, and lots of fun. But make no mistake; this is Ms. Dench's film. And while Hoskins is delightful as Laura's foil, it is really the grand Dame of British acting that steals the show and takes command of the film. She's just pitch perfect in the role of "a most exasperating woman," who says whatever's on her mind, and has an endlessly sharp tongue. This is one of her best roles. Mike Leonard December 05.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MRS HENDERSON PRESENTS,
By A Customer
This review is from: Mrs Henderson Presents  [DVD] (DVD)I went to see mrs henderson presents at the cinema and it is really a brillient film!! Will Young is really good as bertie and Dame Judie Dench and Bob Hoskins are really funny.
It is really well acted, it is great that they brought the story of the windmill theatre to life. Both my children aged 12 and 13 also really enjoyed the film.
I have already pre ordered it just to watch it again!!!!
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it,
This review is from: Mrs Henderson Presents  [DVD] (DVD)This was a gentle, surprising tale with amusing overtones, which touched the soul, all the more as it is based on a true story, however romanticised. Judi Dench and the supporting cast are truly wonderful and I could watch it over and over again.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I'm bored with widowhood.",
This review is from: Mrs Henderson Presents  [DVD] (DVD)This true story opens in 1930s London where wealthy dowager Laura Henderson (Judi Dench) has just been widowed and is at a loss as to how to fill her time. On a lark, buys a broken-down music hall in the West End and hires Vivian Van Damm (Bob Hoskins) to run the revue. He's every bit as stubborn and opinionated as she is and the two make an uneasy team at first. To boost sagging ticket sales, Mrs. Henderson suggests the show use nude models in tableaux. The theatre becomes a big hit, especially with the young soldiers during wartime. Mrs. Henderson and Van Damm learn to trust and respect each other, after sharing their deepest secrets.
This movie is absolutely charming, thanks to the wonderful Judy Dench and Bob Hoskins. Dench is always such a pleasure to watch; she simply owns the screen. Her character is snobbish, rigid, and quite loveable. Hoskins is the perfect match for her. He's just as outrageously snobbish as she is, and their scenes together are the best in the movie. There's lots of 30s and 40s music and lots of nudes. It's a touching, sweet little film, and knowing it really happened makes it even better.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming - lovely performances,
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This review is from: Mrs Henderson Presents  [DVD] (DVD)This is a fun, inoffensive, beautifully acted and excellently written film. I loved both Judy Dench and Bob Hoskins - wonderful chemistry between the two. The Windmill girls are lovely - Kelly Reilly gives a very touching performance. If you have a sense of humour and an ounce of compassion you'll enjoy it. Oh, and Will Young ain't bad!
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful film,
This review is from: Mrs Henderson Presents  [DVD] (DVD)I loved the film when I saw it and bought the DVD the minute I knew it was out. Watching it on the small screen for the second time was as delightful as the first. I also have the sound track CD. Judy Dench, as ever puts in a great performance that is funny and poignant when needed. The relationship between her character and Bob Hoskins' character is lovely to watch. Will Young does a good job in his debut movie. He suits the era and the songs he has to sing are great. My only complaint is that he didn't have a bigger part. This is a must-see film.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - a gem of a film!,
This review is from: Mrs Henderson Presents  [DVD] (DVD)Based on fact, the film begins at the funeral of Mrs Henderson's late husband. Although holding it together for sake of appearances, she is clearly distraught and soon seeks refuge in her own company. Shortly afterwards, we see her discussing with a friend what it is that widows actually do with their time. Mrs Henderson is notified that widowed women are permitted to have hobbies, since they no longer have husbands to look after.
After disastrous attempts at charity work and other 'ladylike' things, it soon becomes apparent that Mrs Henderson is no ordinary lady. Mischievious and incorrigible, she has been shaped by her past and is determined to something worthwhile with her time. And it is on a drive through town that she first lays eyes on the Windmill Theatre. Soon, it is hers, and she sets to hiring someone to manage the theatre. It is then she meets Vivian Van Damm (played by Bob Hoskins), and despite the pair of them continually rubbing each other up the wrong way, Mrs Henderson decides he is the perfect man for the job. And so the Windmill Theatre is re-opened and is shortly hailed as a success. However, other theatres begin to steal their ideas, and soon the Windmill is losing money hand over fist and needs to come up with something new to boost audience numbers once more.
This is when Mrs Henderson decides something more risque is needed to tempt audiences - naked women. This was unheard of in 1930's Britain, which makes Mrs Henderson all the more determined to go through with it. She manages to get official permission to stage her idea - providing the women do not move whilst on stage - their breasts may be visible - but nether regions are strictly prohibited. They are displayed like works of art, and are a huge hit with the theatregoers.
The success of the Windmill Theatre rises still further as World War II begins and London is subjected to brutal bombings by the German Luftwaffe. Being underground, the theatre is one of the safest places to be, and many of the actors and actresses move in whilst the war is raging outside. Young men from Army, Navy and Air Forces attend the performances, determined to enjoy themselves while they still can - as they know many of them will be killed when they go to the front lines. Mrs Henderson approves, and is determined to give the boys nights they will never forget - given her own son was killed during the first World War, having never seen a naked woman and experienced the joy of making love.
Keeping the theatre open is a rollercoaster ride, as many people disapprove of the practises going on under its roof - but thick-skinned as ever, Mrs Henderson doesn't care what anyone thinks and is determined to keep entertaining the people as long as they want to attend. Full of song and dance, this is a nice happy film, despite the more serious backdrop of World War II and its casualties.
Mrs Henderson Presents is a really fun film, with the theatre performances causing you to tap your feet, and the various character relationships and developments causing chaos. Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins were a complete riot in this film, bickering like an old married couple, and Will Young was a ray of sunshine as the male lead on stage. A really watchable film that leaves you with both a smile on your face and tears in your eyes. Excellent.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What more could you want?,
This review is from: Mrs Henderson Presents  [DVD] (DVD)Judi Dench, Bob Hoskins, a plot about plucky Brits in wartime, tasteful nudity and great costumes - how much more do you want from a British film! It's even got Christopher Guest of Spinal Tap fame doing a great, funny performance as the stuffy English Lord Chamberlain.
Mrs Henderson isn't an all-time classic, but it is very good. Pop idol Will Young is probably cast - very well by the way- to attract a younger audience, but I think this movie is best enjoyed by those over 35, probably with their parents. Put it this way, if it was on TV on a Bank Holiday afternoon I'd watch it again.
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Mrs Henderson Presents  [DVD] by Stephen Frears (DVD - 2006)