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Mrs. Henderson Presents

By By: Sunil Noronha
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    Monday, March 06, 2006

    In the movie, Judi Dench who plays Laura Henderson has come back from India and is rich and lonely. Her husband has passed away and left her with a whole lot of money. She outdoes the variety of ways that she can spend it in till she finally she finds one that she actually has intrest in-buying the Windmill Theatre on West End. After the acquisition of the theatre, she engages the services of Bob Hoskins who plays Vivian Van Damm to manage and run it. One of her first flashes for a good "running" policy is to have a revue-a variety show that has a mixture of everything from song and dance to comedy. Despite their inclination to opposite artistic forces, they go ahead with "revue policy" with all day all night addition to the programme-the show is on through out the waking hours of the day. Once it is seen that this policy of show business does actually work, a number of theatres emulate it and hence it makes the theatre industry very prosperous. Now Mrs. Henderson decides to give her revues a touch unique, unique only to her. This touch in the form of nudity-not as a obscenity but as an artistic form. The artistic validator at the time of the theatre scene, Lord Chancellor, though does not approve the nudity "clauses" of the Henderson lady. To combat his opposition to their "artistic "ideas, they say that the nudity in the show will contain will not be "paraded". They say that if nude ladies stay put while the performance is on, it stays within being artistically nude and cannot be called an obscenity. Their show, which eventually gets through the censor board, marks the entry of nudity in its artistic form in London Theatre.

    Another source of inspiration is the soldiers who are fighting World Ward II. Judi Dench's son in the movie is a war martyr and his death gives her more reasons to include nudity. She believes that a woman nude is something that a soldier doesn't see during his lifetime. During the war, while most theatres close, The Windmill Theatre stays open defying all odds.

    The movie documents the London Theatre struggle of the time. The cast also includes Kelly Reilly, Will Young, Thelma Barlow and Christopher Guest among the major rolls in the movie.

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