After Elizabeth’s (Dame Judi Dench’s) husband dies, she begins to play her tenor saxophone again, and remembers when she was fifteen and a member of the Blonde Bombshells, an all-girl (with one exception) swing band. Accompanied by the exception and urged on by her granddaughter, 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.
The Hottest Band Since The Beatles?
“An album of songs so old everyone thinks they’re new.” This film has the elusive combination of pace and mood that set some films apart from the opening moments. And why not? Towering talent from Dame Judith Dench as a widow who plays saxaphone with a street musician to help him get the songs right, to Olympia Dukakis as the merry widow living in a Scottish castle on the alimony of her many marriages, to Ian Holm as the drummer who loved all the members of a World War II all girl (more or less) swing band. But wait, there’s more. Add in Leslie Caron on bass, and the incomparable Clio Laine on lead vocal, at last, and the Blonde Bombshells are the hottest band in England since the Beatles. Well, OK, not really, but this movie is a winner.
Elizabeth (Dench) spends the whole film trying to reunite the Blonde Bombshells to play at her granddaughter’s school dance. And before you roll your eyes, imagine how difficult and courageous it would be for a bunch of sexegenarian women to step onstage in front of the Britney Spears generation following an act called “Open Wound.”
In an age when actresses careers are over by the time they’re 30, most bands’ second album is a greatest hits compilation, and music more than a month old has almost no chance of airplay, it’s great to see real talent, real music and a really good movie come from, where else, the BBC.
I love this movie, and I know I’ll watch it many more times, and enjoy it more each time.