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The Judi Dench Bio

The Judi Dench Review –

by Nate Lee

Best Film:

Shakespeare In Love

Certainly Dench's rack of award-winning performances in award-winning films is impressive, but every single second of her brief appearances as a wise, funny and in-control queen and patron of young Will is just scrumptious. This would be virtually anyone's best film, but her Oscar for some eight minutes of film time says it all.

Great Performances You May Not Have Seen:
Shakespeare in Love (Golden Globe-nominated and Oscar-winning performance as QEI)
Notes on a Scandal (Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated performance as a twisted, 60-year-old virgin lesbian schoolteacher)
Chocolat (SAG-winning and Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated performance as crotchety landlady turned wise old lady)
Mrs. Brown (Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning performance as Queen Victoria)
Mrs. Henderson Presents (wealthy British proprietor of a nude musical revue during WWII)
Iris (British author Iris Murdoch)
A Room with a View (feisty novelist)
Tea with Mussolini
Pride and Prejudice
The Importance of Being Earnest
(Lady Bracknell)
Nine (a movie producer)
Henry V (Mistress Quickly)
The Bond Films:
Casino Royale
Die Another Day
Tomorrow Never Dies
The World is Not Enough
Quantum of Solace
The Real Judi Dench:
The Bond Films

This chick is in charge. Perhaps her role as Mrs. Henderson is more Denchy, but that role isn’t much different than her brilliant handling of "M", the head of MI6. She uses that bite, that authoritarian air and self-actualization to always make us yearn for a few more minutes of verbal tangling with Bond.
Acting Style:
Feisty and literally indomitable. A poster child, like Helen Mirren, for the classical training of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Dench, though, is so different from Mirren as to make it impossible to believe they have both been so brilliant as Queen Elizabeth, as well as several of the same Shakespearean roles. Dench seems to literally spit out her words, and her power seems to come from (for the most part) an unknowable, angry place. It's no accident that her acclaim has come primarily from supporting roles. Except for her brilliant (and, again, almost typecasting) performance as Queen Victoria, she is the best character actress in the business.
Bits and Quirks:
The squinched prune face, sometimes relaxed into just a squinched jaw. The evil squint, sometimes, but not often with an even more evil smile. The staccato delivery, often at jackhammer pace. The quick nod. The various versions of the imperious back-straightened stare.
Great Scenes:
Shakespeare In Love

> Every scene (as stated above)
> Presiding over the wager in court
> Surprise visit to the theatre and subsequent judgment on the wager

Casino Royale

> Walking out of a Whitehall meeting, talking about Bond
> Dealing with Bond after he breaks into her house, literally threatening him with his life
> the "I knew you were you" lines

Mrs. Henderson Presents

> The speech to the soldiers outside of a closed theatre
> The picnic with Lord Chamberlain, convincing him of the "art" of a nude revue
> Arguments with Bob Hoskins about the theatre

Notes on a Scandal

> Picking up the girl in the park at the end
> Betraying Cate Blanchett's trust
> Confrontation with her husband, Bill Nighy

Mrs. Brown

> The heart-to-heart with Brown
> Supper with the royal family before Brown arrives
> The confessional scene
> The fight with Brown about returning to public life
> The death scene
Go to the... Judi Dench Bio