See This - The Last of the Blonde Bombshells


Judi Dench and Ian Holm

Judi Dench and Ian Holm in The Last of the Blonde Bombshells

 

 

Fans of Eighties cult 1980s UK TV series The Beiderbecke Affair will know immediately what’s going on here. This ostensible “let’s put the band back together” drama is really just another opportunity for Alan Plater to resurrect the male/female comedy double act he brought to perfection back then with James Bolam and Barbara Flynn. Judi Dench and Ian Holm play the duelling duo this time out, she being the youngest member of a wartime “all-women” swing outfit, he being the drummer who had to cross-dress to keep the fiction alive. Sly old Plater also gets to indulge two other big passions. First, music of a jazzy, swingy sort – Basie and Ellington figure prominently. Second, slaughtering a sacred cow. Here he’s engaging with the boomer notion that sex began in 1963. Look, he says, forget The Beatles, Chuck Berry etc, the sexual big bang that rock’n’roll supposedly delivered actually happened in Britain during the second world war – when the national crisis trumped petty morality, the “hell, we could all be dead tomorrow” attitude wrote the licence and the blackout supplied the opportunity. It was, according to Plater’s screenplay, a sex and booze frenzy. Further joys of this bijou TV movie include getting to see actors doing things they aren’t associated with – Olympia Dukakis playing a trumpet. And Leslie Caron (yes, An American in Paris Leslie Caron) playing the bass. Grandma will love it, but broad church entertainment is what Plater’s all about, so there’s a good chance that the grandkids might too.

© Steve Morrissey 2013

 

The Last of the Blonde Bombshells – at Amazon

 

 

 

imdb poster The Last of the Blonde Bombshells
The Last of the Blonde Bombshells (2000)
Rating: 7.2
Genres: TV Movie
Director: Gillies MacKinnon
Writers: Alan Plater
Stars: Judi Dench, Ian Holm, Leslie Caron
Trivia: A woman tries to reunite the swing band she played with during WWII.
Storyline After Elizabeth’s husband dies, she begins to play her tenor saxophone again, and remembers when she was 15 and a member of the Blonde Bombshells, an all-girl (with one exception) swing band. Accompanied by the exception and urged on by her grand-daughter, Elizabeth hunts up all the old members of the band and urges them to perform, and in doing so, learns more than she knew about the band, its members, the roses on the drum set, and herself–the last of the Blonde Bombshells. Written by Kathy Li
Plot Keywords: band, blonde, swing band, drums, death