Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005)

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Released 1-May-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Making Of
Notes-History Of The Windmill Theatre
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 98:40
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (73:25) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Stephen Frears
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Judi Dench
Bob Hoskins
Will Young
Kelly Reilly
Thelma Barlow
Christopher Guest
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music George Fenton


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††† Inspired by true events, Mrs Henderson Presents opens in 1937 with Mrs Laura Henderson (Judi Dench) attending the funeral of her late husband. The wake isnít even over and the upper class Mrs Henderson is contemplating what she is going to do with the rest of her life. She is encouraged by her close friend, Lady Conway (Thelma Barlow), to try her hand at embroidery or charity work. Having tried and failed at these more traditional pursuits Mrs Henderson settles on the purchase of a run-down theatre on Old Windmill Street.

††† With refurbishment work well under way Mrs Henderson is confronted with the task of finding someone to manage the theatre. She settles on Vivian Van Damm (Bob Hoskins), an out-of-work but highly regarded theatre manager. Right from the outset Mrs Henderson and Vivian canít agree on anything and this sets the stage, no pun intended, for some hilarious banter between the two.

††† Assisted by Bertie (Will Young), his right hand man, and Maureen (Kelly Reilly), his lead performer, Vivian creates a musical revue with a winning formula. Unfortunately the other theatres are forced to adopt a similar format and profits soon fall. With the Windmill Theatre losing money fast Vivian is forced to suggest to Mrs Henderson that they must close, but she will hear nothing of it. Instead she suggests they change the routine to include nude women on stage.

††† The problem is they must obtain a license from the Lord Chamberlain to operate a nude stage performance. Being well connected, Mrs Henderson consults her old friend Lord Cromer (Christopher Guest) who, after some persuasion, agrees to grant a license to operate, provided the women donít move. That way they will appear as if they are pieces of art hanging in a gallery.

††† Business couldnít be better and with the theatreís popularity continuing to grow, Hitlerís decision to invade France only results in even more business, through the influx of soldiers - ever keen to see a nude review. Furthermore, the Windmill Theatre sits below street level so it is able to stay open right throughout the blitz.

††† There is plenty of nudity throughout the movie though it is handled quite tastefully and even humorously at times. Be warned though, there is both male and female full frontal nudity. The acting is first rate from all involved and wartime London is convincingly recreated.

††† Highly recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††† The video transfer is very good.

††† The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.

††† The image is generally sharp and the shadow detail is good, however some of the blue screen work appears soft, for example when Mrs Henderson and Vivian are on the rooftop at 90:22. There is no low level noise.

††† While the colour palette is intentionally subdued for the exterior shots of dreary London, the colours are wonderfully vibrant during the stage productions.

††† I did not notice any MPEG artefacts, film artefacts or aliasing.

††† The only subtitle steam available is English for the Hearing Impaired. The subtitles are well placed, easy to read and they accurately reflect the spoken word.

††† This disc is an RSDL disc with the layer change occurring at 73:25. A brief pause was noticed on my equipment.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

††† The audio transfer is very good.

††† There are two audio tracks on this DVD, the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) and English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s). I listened to the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track and sampled the other. Both are very good though, quite obviously, the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track offers a more pleasing spatial experience.

††† Dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times.

††† The audio sync appeared to be out just a touch towards the end of the movie.

††† The bold and brassy musical score by George Fenton reflects the movieís war time era and complements the stage performances perfectly.

††† Although the movie is predominantly dialogue driven the surround speakers help bring to life the stage performances.

††† In addition to the subwoofer providing low end bass to the musical score it is also used to good effect during the air raids and resulting explosions.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

††† Though there are few extras they are above average in terms of content quality.

Menu

††† The menu is styled on the movieís theme and it is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. It is animated and accompanied by a supporting audio track. In addition to the usual anti-piracy ads, the menu is preceded by an advertisement from the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification.

The Making Of Mrs Henderson Presents (24:10)

††† Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, The Making Of Mrs Henderson Presents is supported by an English Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track. There are no subtitles.

††† Containing the usual cast and crew interviews The Making Of Mrs Henderson Presents also includes interviews with the original Windmill girls and discusses the background history of the Windmill Theatre.

History of the Windmill Theatre

††† Containing nine text screens outlining the history of the Windmill Theatre, we learn that Mrs Henderson left the Windmill Theatre to Vivian Van Damm after her death in 1944. In turn Vivian left it to his daughter, Sheila, when he died in December 1960. The Windmill Theatre was eventually closed on the 31st of October 1964 and has since been used for many purposes. Today it is a lap-dancing club.

Theatrical Trailer (2:14)

††† The Theatrical Trailer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, though it is not 16x9 enhanced. It is accompanied by an English Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track. The image is sharp and clean, though there is some aliasing.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

††† The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

††† The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

††† The Directorís Commentary and Stills Gallery allow the Region 1 version to edge out the local offering.

Summary

††† British movies continue to surprise me with the quality of their production. The Constant Gardener and Millions are just two of the more recent offerings that come to mind. They succeed on many levels and seem to offer something for everyone. Take Mrs Henderson Presents for example - it isnít a musical, it isnít a comedy and it isnít a period piece. It is a wonderful blend of all of the above elements and the viewer can take what they want from the movie. For me it was the tongue in cheek humour, particularly the dialogue between Mrs Henderson and Vivian, but I will never forget the conversation between Mrs Henderson and Lord Cromer over lunch.

††† The video transfer is very good.

††† The audio transfer is very good.

††† Though few in number the extras provided are of quality. Of particular interest are the facts contained in History of the Windmill Theatre.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Aaron Devereaux (read my bio)
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-533K, using Component output
DisplayInFocus Screenplay 7200 with ScreenTechnics 100" (16x9) screen. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to Amplifier. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC -A11SR
SpeakersJamo D6PEX wall mounted Speakers and Powered Sub (7.1)

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