2000 - United Kingdom - 84 minutes
Writer - Alan Plater
Director - Gillies MacKinnon
Internet Movie Database User Rating - 7.3/10 - Link to IMDB
My Rating -4 of 5 Stars

The Last of the Blond Bombshells is an entertaining bit of fluff. Judy Dench plays Elizabeth, a newly widowed woman at loose ends. She has spent most of her life being the dutiful wife and mother but has never been truly happy.

Shortly after her husband's funeral, Elizabeth is having her regular lunch date with her stick-in-the-mud children when she spots a street performer. This sparks memories of when she was a member of an all girl swing band in London during World War II. We soon learn that the band was not exactly all girl as the drummer was a man dressing as a woman ala Some Like It Hot.

Elizabeth pulls out her sax (which she has been secretly practicing throughout her marriage) and joins forces with the guitar-playing street musician. Elizabeth is far more talented than the guitarist, and the money begins to flow in. She doesn’t take any money as she is wealthy and doesn't need it. Her playing is strictly for artistic fulfillment.

Elizabeth is seen one day by Patrick (Ian Holm) who was the drummer-in-drag of the band. It seems that Patrick was - and still is - quite the ladies' man, and Elizabeth - being only fifteen at the time - was the only band member who did not experience Patrick's "talents" other than drumming.

Elizabeth is inspired by her granddaughter to get the old group together once again to play for the granddaughter's school dance. Thus begins a delightful trip down memory lane combined with aspects of a humorous road trip movie - all topped off with some really good swing and blues.

I guess I'm at the age in which I really enjoy older actresses doing their stuff, and this film is a treasure trove as it not only stars Judi Dench, but she is supported by none less than Olympia Dukakis, Leslie Caron, and a host of seasoned British character actresses. This is all topped off by the extraordinary voice of Cleo Laine.

Yes, it is fluff, but totally delightful and exceedingly entertaining fluff.

Neil Turner
March 26, 2007

The Last of the Blond Bombshells