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The Dresser

An accomplished film of Ronald Harwood's theatrical two-hander, animated by two gigantic performances. Finney, grossly Shakespearean as Sir, the imperious, declamatory actor-manager with a Moses-like command of his company and inanimate objects ('St-o-o-p th-a-a-a-t tr-ai-ai-n!' he bawls, bringing British Rail to its knees), is fully matched by Courtenay's pantomime poof Norman, Sir's devoted dresser: mincing, nagging, but the only one able to reach to the furthest depths of Sir's hair-tearing madness and coax him into the costumes and roles that have by wicked irony destroyed him. Especially pleasing, then, that in the final act it is the quiet craft of an actress - Atkins as the long-suffering, love-lorn stage manageress - that rises above constrictions of plot and thankless part to upstage them.

Release details

Duration: 118 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Peter Yates
Screenwriter: Ronald Harwood
Cast: Albert Finney
Tom Courtenay
Edward Fox
Zena Walker
Eileen Atkins
Michael Gough
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