The holidays have finally exhausted themselves, and now their furor, tinsel, and champagne fade, like watching the relatives drive off, headed home, back to their lives.
We, at the Tacoma Film Club are really excited about inaugurating our eighth year with this trio of “Artist’s Plight” films. We had our article published in the Tacoma News Tribune the day after Christmas. I will be handing out copies of it this Friday at the screening of THE DRESSER. It was directed by Peter Yates. He also directed a lot in America, with films like BULLITT (1968), THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE (1973), and BREAKING AWAY (1979).
The film was written by Ronald Harwood, who based the story on his own experiences being the Dresser for Sir Donald Wolfit, 1951-1958. The original Broadway production of “The Dresser” by Ronald Harwood opened at the Brooks Atkinson Theater in New York on November 6, 1981, ran for 200 performances and was nominated for the 1982 Tony Award for the Best Play. Harwood also wrote THE PIANIST (2002) and OLIVER TWIST (2005) for director Roman Polanski.
Tom Courtenay had been in the play, and was nominated for a Tony for the role. He and Albert Finney were re-united in the film A RATHER ENGLISH MARRIAGE (1998). Albert Finney was only 47 when he did THE DRESSER. He, of course is best know for TOM JONES (1963), and has completed 63 films to date. Some of my favorites include MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (1974), WOLFEN (1981), and MILLER’S CROSSING (1990) for the Coen Brothers.
THE DRESSER was nominated for five Oscars, including both Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay for Best Actor, Best Picture, and Best Director; likewise it was nominated for five Golden Globe awards.
THE DRESSER (1983)
Directed by Peter Yates @ 118 minutes
The film stars Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay, Edward Fox, Eileen Atkins, and Michael Gough. Synopsis: A touring Shakespearean theater group during WWII has a tyrannical head of the company who uses a personal dresser–and this attendee struggles to sustain the deteriorating star during the London blitz. Their play is KING LEAR, and the backstage drama rivaled the performance.
Tagline: “What happens backstage is always true drama–and often pure comedy.”
Roger Ebert wrote, “This is the best sort of drama, fascinating us on the surface with color and humor and esoteric detail, and then revealing the truth underneath.”
In VARIETY we read, “Adapted by Ronald Harwood from his 1980 London comedy-drama, this is indisputably one of the best films every made about theatre. It’s funny, compassionate, compelling, and in its final moments pulls off an uncanny juxtaposition between the emotionally and physically crumbling Albert Finney and the character he’s playing on stage for the 227th time, King Lear.”
Join us for this terrific British film, THE DRESSER (1983), this Friday, January 7, 2010, at the Club meeting hall located at 924 Broadway, street level in the Pythian Temple, across the street from the Theater on the Square, in the heart of Tacoma’s Theater District. Arrive early and enjoy meeting some prospective new members who read the TNT article, and want to see what the club is all about. Let’s welcome them. The Phantom Director and Farishta will serve a meal around 6:15 p.m. We will hold the club raffle, with the winners receiving either 40% of the collected revenue, or a terrific DVD from my personal collection. THE DRESSER will screen around 7:15 p.m. and runs 118 minutes, so will be over before 9:30 p.m.
See you at the movies!