I’m a huge fan of the British actress, Judi Dench. Or, I should say, Dame Judi Dench – she was honoured for her services to the performing arts by Her Majesty the Queen in 1980.
She had a hugely successful career on the stage before she moved to television work but she is probably best known today for her fabulous films. Here are my favourites.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
This one gets the biggest image because I think it’s my favourite.(Well, maybe. It’s hard to choose).
It tells of a group of English people of retirement age. Most of them are looking for somewhere to spend their final years and see advertising for a hotel in India. It’s described as a ‘palace’.
For various reasons, they decide that this is for them.
Of course, the advertising has been hugely exaggerated!
A few of the new residents are dubious about their new lifestyle whereas others revel in their new life so far away from home.
How will these people cope in such strange surroundings?
The film has many stars, as you can see from the cover (see that other wonderful British actress, Maggie Smith, as you’ve never seen her before) and the plot is sweet, gentle and very funny.
THE LAST OF THE BLONDE BOMBSHELLS
Or maybe this is my favourite? I only discovered this film recently and I’ve already watched it several times.
Elizabeth (Judi Dench) has been widowed and her family are concerned about her. She seems to be behaving in a terribly eccentric way For example, she starts to play the saxophone on the street with a young busker. Her family never even knew she could play. What they don’t know is that as a teenager in the Second World War she was the sax player for an all-girls jazzband.
Well, not exactly all-girl. The bandleader couldn’t find a suitable drummer so used a man in drag.
Now she is widowed, Elizabeth wants to get the band back together again. This is a wonderful film with a host of brilliant stars and of course, fabulous music.
The Importance of Being Earnest
Oh wait, perhaps this one is my real favourite.
A classic Oscar Wilde comedy and I imagine many of us know the plot and have seen this play on stage, television or previous film versions. I’ve seen many but this is the best.
You can see for yourself from the cover that the cast sparkles.
Even when you have seen this period comedy of romance, class and snobbery many times, the plot never fails and the two ‘Ernests’, Colin Firth and Rupert Everett, are an amazingly funny teams. As are the objects of their desires,Reese Witherspoon and Francis O’Connor.
Add Judi Dench playing the famous Lady Bracknell and this is a true gem.
When Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, died, it’s widely believed that she became a hopeless recluse. It’s true that she no longer felt like so many parties and entertaining without her beloved husband, but did she really forsake male company altogether?
Not at all, if the stories about John Brown are to be believed.
He was a Scottish servant in her employ but became her best friend and confidante. Was there more to this relationship than met the eye?
Her children seemed to think so, as they referred to Brown as ‘Mama’s lover’. Many resented the fact that the Queen and her servant were on such intimate terms and indeed, John Brown had a relationship with the queen unlike any other in her life.
Not only do we have Judi Dench in this film, the brilliant Billy Connolly plays Brown to perfection.
Mrs Henderson Presents
Once again, Dame Judi Dench plays a widow of ‘a certain age’. This is based on the true history of the Windmill Theatre in London.
It’s just a couple of years before the Second World War and Mrs Henderson is a bored, wealthy widow so she purchases the theatre as her new hobby.
Like many other successful theatres of the time, she present a show which, well, you can see from the DVD cover on the left. But the theatre soon has money troubles.
By now, the war has begun and Mrs Henderson decides to revive the theatre’s fortunes by having her girls on stage completely naked. This is against public decency regulations but the resourceful Mrs H manages to get permission.
As she explains, for many of her young male clientèle who are leaving for war zones overseas, this might be their last chance to see a naked woman.
Note: You can see more details about these films, or place your order by clicking the link beneath each image – enjoy!