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(Widescreen Edition)

MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS ($29) is a delightfully warm and amusing piece of British nostalgia that is based upon true events, which features fine performances from Dame Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins, who display excellent chemistry together. Set during the years preceding and into the WWII era, MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS tells the story of wealthy British widow Laura Henderson (Judi Dench), who has little to do and plenty of money to do it with. On a whim, Mrs. Henderson purchases the rundown Windmill Theater on Londonís west end with the intention of refurbishing the theater to stage musical variety shows.

Hiring Vivian Van Damm (Bob Hoskins) as the theaterís manager and creative director, the Windmill gets off to relatively good start, thanks to Van Dammís ploy of running continuous shows, while other theaters limiting themselves two performances a day. However, once the other theaters start adding performances- business at the Windmill drops off. At this point, Mrs. Henderson suggests the unimaginableÖ nude girls in her shows. Getting nudity on the British stage entails the nude performers to be artistic set dressing- in other words as immobile as the nudes featured in the great works of art housed in museums. Although immobile, the nudity pays off and the Windmill becomes a hit with audiences, even as the German bombs begin falling on London. The cast of MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS also features Will Young, Kelly Reilly, Thelma Barlow and Christopher Guest.

The Weinstein Company has made MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS available on DVD in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. In general, this is a really nice looking transfer that delivered a fairly crisp and nicely defined image. Sure, there are some shots that come up mildly soft, but there is nothing here worth complaining about. At times, colors are slightly muted, but for the most part are rendered at relatively natural level of saturation. Blacks appear accurate, as do the whites. Contrast is fairly smooth and shadow detail is more than adequate. The film elements are usually quite clean, with only an errant speck here and there. Film grain in noticeable in more than a few places, but is never excessive. Digital compression artifacts are well contained.

MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS comes with a perfectly respectable Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. Since the film is pretty much a talky dramady, the sounds mix is fairly restrained most of the time. There are a couple of instances where the sound design explodes to life, but for the most part, the track is limited to the nature of the material. Music has good fidelity, with both the musical numbers and the score coming across in an appealing manner. Some stereo separations are implemented across the front, while the rears primarily serve to add ambience and musical fill. Voices are cleanly reproduced and the dialogue maintains complete intelligibility. No other language tracks have been included on the DVD, but English and Spanish subtitles are provided.

Animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few choice extras. Director Stephen Frears is on hand for a running audio commentary. The Making of Mrs. Henderson Presents is a five part program totaling twenty-five minutes that has been broken into the following segments: The Real Windmill Girls, Casting The Show, The Look, Choreography, and Making The Movie. A small sampling of Production Photography, plus a Theatrical Trailer and bonus trailers close out the extras.

As I stated above, MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS is an amusing and rather enjoyable bit of British nostalgia that benefits from the talents of Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins. The Weinstein Companyís widescreen DVD edition of the film looks and sounds quite nice, and offers some thoughtful extras. If you are a fan of the filmís stars or enjoy period comedy/dramas spiced up with a bit of nudity, youíll want to check out MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS.



Mrs. Henderson Presents (Widescreen Edition) (2005)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2006 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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