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Look out for more coverage of
Mrs Henderson Presents in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Mrs Henderson Presents

THE STARS:
Judi Dench • Bob Hoskins • Will Young • Kelly Reilly
DIRECTOR: Stephen Frears

Judi Dench THE CONCEPT:
British movie showcasing the true story of Laura Henderson who bought the Windmill Theatre in London and with employee Vivian Van Damm has the vision of using naked girls on stage in artful tableaux. The Windmill stayed open throughout World War II, posting its legendary sign that stayed up for decades, ‘We Never Closed.’

U.S. RELEASE: December 25 2005, Limited • Rated: R

THE COMMENTS:

JUDI DENCH:
“I knew nothing about [Laura Henderson], I only knew Vivian Van Damm and the Windmill, and the fact that it was amazingly daring. Bob (Hoskin’s) friends found the programs [from the theater] where instead of ‘Vivian Van Damm Presents,’ it said, ‘Mrs Henderson Presents’ and they followed that path and found out about this woman. And it’s a story worth telling, [she was] fantastically brave. I said yes without seeing a script. But that’s been my entire career, for 48 years I’ve done that.”

BOB HOSKINS:
“The Windmill was always a landmark. I went there when I was five years old to see it with my parents. There were a lot of comics on, and I remember sitting there with all these nudes on stage, and all these kids were running up and down the aisles. It was very beautiful, it wasn’t like today, which is as pornographic as they can make it; they seem to make women ugly. [At the Windmill] they made women very beautiful, it was art.”

KELLY REILLY (Maureen, the first tableaux girl):
“If it’s for art I don’t have an issue with nudity at all. When the war broke out this place was like a cocoon, where the war could be outside, and everyone could just forget what was going on, so it was about something that was quite beautiful and it was a place of escapism.”

DENCH:
“I would rather go and see Brief Encounter rather than go to a modern film now where everyone takes their clothes off, because I think suggestion is more exciting than actually see people make love.”

HOSKINS on his nude scene:
“Everybody goes on about that, but it was just part of the script. Everybody was saying to me, ‘Are you going to do it Bob?’ I said, ‘Yeah, it’s in the script.’ And it wasn’t until I actually got my clothes off, and there were all these naked, young people with bodies to be proud of, when I suddenly thought, ‘Oh my God.’ I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of, and nothing to be proud of!”

REILLY:
“The women from the 1930s didn’t go to the gym every other day, that’s not what life was about, but they were fit because they were doing non-stop performances. I just wanted to do this film as beautifully was we could, and honor these women.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Mrs Henderson Presents site
Images above © The Weinstein Company
Feature © 2005 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #665, January 2006 cover

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