Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. United Kingdom, 1983. Columbia Pictures Corporation, Goldcrest Films International, World Film Services. Screenplay by Ronald Harwood. Cinematography by Kelvin Pike. Produced by Peter Yates. Music by James Horner. Production Design by Stephen B. Grimes. Costume Design by Rosemary Burrows. Film Editing by Ray Lovejoy. Academy Awards 1983. Golden Globe Awards 1983.
Ronald Harwood adapts his hit Broadway play with mesmerizing results, despite making very few adjustments to the original stage setting. A heartily devoted dresser (Tom Courtenay) pushes, prods, cajoles, worships, degrades and inspires an aging, overworked actor (Albert Finney) to get on stage and get through a performance in the title role of King Lear, as the rest of the company looks on with fear that it won’t happen. Eileen Atkins is devastating as the lonely stage manager who is all business at first but turns out to have a broken heart that emerges as the performance continues. Fantastic writing and direction create entertaining cinema out of a great backstage pass to the magical world of theatre.