Wed, July 17

Last of the Blonde Bombshells waxes nostalgic with laughs and music

The Last of the Blonde Bombshells is a movie produced for and shown on HBO in 2000.  It's available on DVD from Netflix and locally at Planet Video.  If you want an hour and a half of laughs, wonderful acting by world-class performers and a movie loaded with 1940s swing music, this is it.

Judi Dench is the lead character. She is Elizabeth, whose husband has just passed away.  Elizabeth gets nostalgic about her youth, especially that time when, as a teenager during World War II, she played lead saxophone with the all-girl (almost) band, The Blond Bombshells.

Elizabeth's granddaughter, a young teen, hears her play the sax and is awed.  She persuades Elizabeth to get the old band together (now, after 50 years) to play at the high school dance.  

Elizabeth meets up with Patrick.  He was the drummer with the band.  (They couldn't find a female drummer, so he dressed up as a Blond Bombshell for each performance.)

Elizabeth and Patrick set out to find the others.  One is dead, one is demented, one is in prison, but they do get enough for a reunion.  In the meantime, throughout the movie, there are flashbacks to the war years and the performances of the Bombshells.  Ah, that big-band sound!

Judi Dench is excellent as Elizabeth, and so is Ian Holm as Patrick, the drummer and the lover of ... well, almost any one of the girls - and practically every one of them!

A particularly good comical turn is done by Olympia Dukakis as Dinah, the trumpet player who is now fabulously wealthy and alcoholic.  Also in the cast are Leslie Caron as Madeleine, the bass player, and Cleo Laine as Gwen, the vocalist, belting out those old standards.

It's a great piece of entertainment, with fine performances and all that special music.