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The Dresser Review

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Dedicated to the head of the company and a deteriorating actor (Finney), The Dresser helps him through a performance of King Lear, made almost impossible by the ensuing Blitz.

★★★★★

Both Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay received Oscar nominations for their work in Peter Yates' affectionate adaptation of Ronald Harwood's play about provincial theatricals - yet only one gives a genuinely cinematic performance.

Courtenay still excels in the title role he created on stage, but his mannerisms seem calcified alongside Finney's imposing blend of grandiloquence and impotence as the fading actor-manager, who was supposedly based on that unregenerate old ham, Donald Wolfit.

The subtly shifting backstage battle of egos is engrossing, but it's set-pieces, like the halting of the train and King Lear storm sequence that linger longest in the memory.

The subtly shifting backstage battle of egos is engrossing, but it's set-pieces, like the halting of the train and King Lear storm sequence that linger longest in the memory.

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