Mrs Henderson Presents

This is an interesting snapshot of an actual series of events that took place during the WWII London blitz.

A wealthy widow, played by Judi Dench ("As Time Goes By" and the James Bond films) decides to go into the theatre business. Things start out with great success, but then inevitably slow down. She does some research, assisted by her hard-working and dedicated artistic director, played by Bob Hoskins ("Hollywoodland" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?") and they come to the decision that nudity would rejuvenate her mostly military audience numbers.

When she is told that nudity in legitimate theatre is illegal, she meets with the Minister of Culture, played by Christopher Guest ("Waiting for Guffman" and "Best of Show"), who adamantly refuses her personal plea for an exception in her case ("to lift the morale for our boys!"). During tea, she quizzes him on why nudity is allowed in art galleries but not in the theatre. They finally ascribe it to: "in art galleries, the nudes don't move."

She dashes back to the theatre where she and Hoskins develop a series of tableaux wherein the nudes stand immobile while a musical number sashays around at the front of the stage.

The scenes where she and Hoskins must convince the actresses that they CAN appear nude are very funny and their ploy (having everyone else nude, including Hoskins! while they rehearse), works just fine. 1940's clothing, hair styles, social mores, etc., are immaculately done, and the secondary plot of an actress falling in love with a soldier, is wrenchingly sweet.