Cinema: Backstage as Blasted Heath

THE DRESSER Directed by Peter Yates, Screenplay by Ronald Harwood

"I just want everything to be lovely," says Norman. As credos go it is modest enough, and in normal times it has served him well in his career as dresser and dogsbody to the actor-manager—spoken of only as "Sir"—whose little Shakespearean company is touring the English provinces. The trouble is, the times are out of joint. World War II's air-raid sirens have a way of going off in the middle of the old boy's soliloquies. Worse, the years have taken their toll. As Sir says, anticipating his 227th performance of King...

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