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The Dresser (1983) DVDRip (SiRiUs sHaRe)

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The Dresser (1983) DVDRip (SiRiUs sHaRe)

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Name:The Dresser (1983) DVDRip (SiRiUs sHaRe)

Total Size: 699.94 MB

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Stream: Watch Online @ Movie4u

Last Updated: 2015-09-10 07:39:41 (Update Now)

Torrent added: 2008-07-08 00:34:05



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The Dresser (1983)

In a touring Shakespearean theater group, a backstage hand - the dresser, is devoted to the brilliant but tyrannical head of the company. He struggles to support the deteriorating star as the company struggles to carry on during the London blitz. The pathos of his backstage efforts rival the pathos in the story of Lear and the Fool that is being presented on-stage, as the situation comes to a crisis.

Albert Finney ... Sir
Tom Courtenay ... Norman
Edward Fox ... Oxenby
Zena Walker ... Her Ladyship
Eileen Atkins ... Madge
Michael Gough ... Frank Carrington
Cathryn Harrison ... Irene
Betty Marsden ... Violet Manning
Sheila Reid ... Lydia Gibson
Lockwood West ... Geoffrey Thornton
Donald Eccles ... Mr. Godstone
Llewellyn Rees ... Horace Brown
Guy Manning ... Benton
Anne Mannion ... Beryl

Director: Peter Yates

Runtime: 118 mins

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085461/

Codecs:

Video : 605 MB, 744 Kbps, 25.0 fps, 576*320 (16:9), XVID = XVID Mpeg-4,
Audio : 94 MB, 116 Kbps, 48000 Hz, 2 channels, 0x55 = Lame MP3, CBR,

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I just watched The Dresser this evening, having only seen it once before, about a dozen years ago.

It's not a "big" movie, and doesn't try to make a big splash, but my God, the brilliance of the two leads leaves me just about speechless. Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay are nothing less than amazing in this movie.

The Dresser is the story of Sir, an aging Shakespearean actor (Finney), and his dresser Norman (Courtenay), sort of a valet, putting on a production of King Lear during the blitz of London in World War II. These are two men, each dependent upon the other: Sir is almost helpless without the aid of Norman to cajole, wheedle, and bully him into getting onstage for his 227th performance of Lear. And Norman lives his life vicariously through Sir; without Sir to need him, he is nothing, or thinks he is, anyway.

This is a character-driven film; the plot is secondary to the interaction of the characters, and as such, it requires actors of the highest caliber to bring it to life. Finney, only 47 years old, is completely believable as a very old, very sick, petulant, bullying, but brilliant stage actor. He hisses and fumes at his fellow actors even when they're taking their bows! And Courtenay is no less convincing as the mincing dresser, who must sometimes act more as a mother than as a valet to his elderly employer. Employer is really the wrong term to use, though. For although, technically their relationship is that of employer and employee, most of the time Sir and Norman act like nothing so much as an old married couple.

Yes, there are others in the cast of this movie, but there is no question that the true stars are Finney, Courtenay, and the marvelous script by Ronald Harwood. That is not to say that there aren't other fine performances, most notably Eileen Atkins as the long-suffering stage manager Madge. There is a wonderful scene where Sir and Madge talk about old desires, old regrets, and what might have been.

Although it doesn't get talked about these days, it is worth remembering that The Dresser was nominated for five Academy Awards: Best Actor nominations for both Finney and Courtenay, Best Picture, Best Director (Peter Yates), and Best Adapted Screenplay.

I had remembered this as being a good movie, but I wasn't prepared to be as completely mesmerized as I was from beginning to end. If you want to see an example of what great acting is all about, and be hugely entertained all the while, then I encourage you to see The Dresser.

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If ever there was a year and a film where two actors should have shared an Oscar, this is the one. Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay are as co-dependent on each other for their performances as their characters are on each other in this film.

It's fitting that the backdrop for the film is a performance of King Lear, since there are elements of the play that are happening in the characters lives. One of the subtle things about this film that make it so good. While, of course, there is no dividing of a kingdom among three sons, there is a man slowly, then rapidly, descending into madness. In both cases, that madness is often amusing to we the audience. There is the Fool, who never leaves his King's side. Digging deeper, you could say that there is a great man who is forced to live among the rabble, who does not get the respect he deserves. And like Lear, maybe a sort of realization, understanding and acceptance in the end that gives him peace before his demise.

Lear aside, what this film is really about is the relationship between two men, each of whom is dependent on the other. I wouldn't have thought it possible for Albert Finney to give a character more depth than he did the detective in Murder on the Orient Express, but he does it here. Courtenay is every bit Finney's thespian equal. Both roles required Finney and Courtenay to walk a very thin line that teeters dangerously close to "over the top". Both of the characters are outrageous and animated, and the actors easily could have gone overboard, but walked the line beautifully.

SPOILER...The final scenes of The Dresser are among the best I've ever seen. Courtenay reads the litany of people who "Sir" thanks in his memoir, and realizes his name isn't there. Before it fully registers with him that maybe he hasn't played such an important role in Sir's life after all, Sir passes away. Then, all in a moment, Norman comes to the sinking and horrible conclusion that he may have wasted the best years of his life for nothing, since all he cares about is Sir's mutual love, respect and gratitude. As Madge watches on, we pretty much know that she feels the same way about Sir, but long ago accepted what Norman is just now finding out. The film concludes with two time elapsed shots of Norman clinging to Sir's corpse, not wanting to let go and fully face the truth. These moments are built up to throughout the film, and deliver a payoff that is unsurpassed in most every film.

The Dresser is as good a character study as you'll ever see because the characters (TWO of them, not just one) are so fascinating, and the performances so brilliant. The result is one of the best films ever made, and unfortunately, very unknown, despite all the Oscar nominations.

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Many stage plays do not travel well when transferred to the screen, and I initially thought this ultimately poignant study of the relationship between a Shakespearian actor (Albert Finney) and his dresser (Tom Courtenay) would be one of those that suffered during the transition. Finney especially comes across as too strident and overbearing in the first part of the film, too much of a caricature to win the sympathy of the audience as he battles (with little success) against his mental disintegration. While Finney rages, Courtenay prances effeminately as the camp eponymous dresser Norman, who dotes on his tyrannical boss like a devoted mother, and tortuously coaxes him back from the brink of a breakdown to assume the make-up and garb of King Lear, whose story this film mirrors in a number of ways.

Director Yates captures the slightly seedy environment of wartime Britain with its drab colours and dull furniture, and evokes the sense of dedication of the small-time actors even as they fret and complain. Sir, Finney's character (allegedly based on actor Donald Wolfitt for whom writer Ronald Harwood was once a dresser), holds tyrannical sway over the entire company, despite being riddled with insecurities that repeatedly turn him from a bull-voiced egotist to a twitching, stuttering wreck, and grabs our sympathy a little at a time, and it's here that the power of Finney's performance shines through as he turns that essentially stereotypical character into a real human tormented by all too human fears. Courtenay matches his performance here in a part that, judging by the way he so completely inhabits his character, could have been tailor-made for him. The screen doesn't really know what to do with a talent like Courtenay's – this was his first film role in more than ten years – which is a great shame because, with the right material, he is peerless. Ostensibly the better adjusted of the pair, Norman's insecurities manifest themselves in different ways: while Sir's weaknesses are bellowed out for all to see and hear, Norman's are internalised, and indicated by his constant swigs of brandy from the bottle he habitually carries in his back pocket, and only come to the surface in a blistering final act. The smaller roles are also portrayed with equal care and attention to detail as those of the leads – especially that of Madge, a sensitive performance from Eileen Atkins, and Oxenby (Edward Fox), the second-lead whose talent so terrifies Sir.

The Dresser requires some patience on the part of the audience as it sets about drawing us into the lives of a strange and obsessed pair of characters who initially appear undeserving of our sympathy, but those who persevere will be rewarded with a slyly humorous, observant and insightful piece of work.

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* Ronald Harwood based his play and subsequent screenplay on his experiences as the dresser for the noted Shakespearean actor Donald Wolfit.

* Nominated for 5 Oscars.

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