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“The Dresser”
Reviewed by: Dara R. Cosby
Genre: Drama
Video: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital
Languages English
Subtitles English, Japanese
Length 118 minutes
Rating PG
Release Date April 6, 2004
Studio Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment
Commentary: None
Documentaries: None
Featurettes: None
Filmography/Biography: None
Interviews: None
Trailers/TV Spots: Trailers
Alternate/Deleted Scenes: None
Music Video: None
Other: None
Cast and Crew: Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay
Written By: Ronald Harwood
Produced By: Peter Yates
Directed By: Peter Yates
Music: James Horner
The Review:

“The Dresser” was a five time Oscar nominee in 1983. The story centers on Sir (Albert Finney) and his British theater company, “The Coronet Players.” Intense relationships abound, especially between Sir and his dresser, Norman (Tom Courtenay). The film is set during WWII and the company is preparing to put on the two hundred and twenty seventh performance of “King Lear” starring Sir. The drama occurs because Sir is senile and extremely ill. ***

Norman must coach, prod and plead with Sir to go on stage and perform. Norman uses his quick wit and patience to deal with Sir berating and humiliating behavior. The rest of the company’s cast and crew are loyal to the star, but are skeptical of his ability to go on. Norman continually has to reassure both the company and his charge. The sad thing about “The Dresser” is the co-dependant nature of Norman and Sir’s contentious friendship. Norman’s 16 years of anger and bitterness explode at the end of the film to terrific heights. ***

The acting and direction is outstanding the film and deserving of the accolades it received. Finney and Courtenay shine in their respective roles. Courtenay hinders on obsessive in his attention to Finney, but reins it in as a man who needs the position he has, even if it causes him to lose his dignity. Finney’s Sir is great bounding back and forth from losing his mind to giving wonderful monologues! “The Dresser” is a marvelous character study and for those viewers who yearn for great acting in films, this is a must see. ***

Image and Sound: The color is muted and has a dated appearance. This works well, because the film is set in war torn England in the forties. The sound quality is well done, which is fortunate because the character’s thick British accents can be difficult to hear clearly. ***
The Extras: I wish there was commentary on this great film’s DVD. There are trailers for the films: “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, “Big Fish” and “Annie.”
Commentary: None
Final Words: I love Albert Finney! Okay, I was obsessed with “Annie” as a kid, but I feel “The Dresser” is a more respectable reason to adore Daddy Warbucks… I mean Albert Finney! See this film.


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