Calendar Girls is an exciting and meaningful 2003 comedy film directed by one of the most highly renowned director of all time, Nigel Cole. This film was produced by Touchstone Pictures and the Buena Vista International. It also features that screenplay by Juliette Towhidi and Tim Firth which is primarily based on a true story of the group of Yorkshire women who was tempt to produce their nude calendars in order to raise money for their Leukemia Research.
Starring the ensemble cast of good actors and actresses headed by Julie Walters and Helen Mirren along with Linda Bassett, Celia Imrie, Annette Crosbie, Geraldine James, and Penelope Wilton, this film garnered positive reactions and feedbacks from film critics and analysts. With a budget of $10 million, this film became a major success with gross income of $96,000,000 worldwide which was followed by its theatrical releases in United States. In addition to that, the picture of the film was also recognized and has been awarded as the Best Comedy Film by British Comedy Award. This film also spawned nominations for Walters and Mirren respectively as ALFS Award Empire Award, Golden Globe Award and Satellite Award.
Here are some of the actors and actresses who have made the film truly a success and these are as follows:
- Helen Mirren – Played the role of Chris Harper who serves as the driving force after the idea of stripping off with the Women’s Institute calendar. She is completely resistant to join the project after dismissing another type of middling British picture having a themed background. Upon learning that her other colleagues as well as Walters signed with the project, she also accepted the offer.
- Julia Walters – Played the role of Annie Clarke who is the best friend of Chris. She had her husband who died early due to leukemia. This was primarily the main basis of her friend to buy a sofa for those hospital visitors as a remembrance of her husband. She was the first choice of Cole to play a sensitive and quite role of Annie. She is known for her comedic roles but accepting the role in the film was a difficult path for her at the same time balancing in between humorous and grief moments.
- Annette Crosbie – Played the role of a retired teacher in the name of Jessie.
- Linda Bassette – As Cora who is a divorced and single mother who owns a shop. She is also an official organizer of the Knapely WI.
- Penelope Wilton – As Ruth Reynoldson, played the role of as a housewife of a carpet dealer. She rejected the offer of joining the project and refuses to be seen semi-naked.
- Philip Glenister –Played the role of Lawrence Sertain who is the calendar’s photographer.
- Geraldine James – As Marie and known to be the chairwoman of Knapely WI.
- George Costigan – As Eddie Reynoldson who is the husband of Ruth.
- John Alderton – Played the role John Clarke as Annie’s Husband and died immediately due to leukemia.
- Ciaran Hinds – As Rod Harper who is a florist and Chris husbands
- John Paul Macleod – As Jem Harper who is the son of Rod and Chris.
There are still other casts in the film who have been part of its success. Other calendar girls who also appeared in the film includes Rosalind March, Angela Curran, Georgie Glen, Janet Howd and even Lesley Staples and many others.
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When the husband of Annie Clarke’s died at a young age, Chris Harper decided to buy a comfortable sofa for those visitors who wanted to visit him. This was the basis of her idea of printing a unique calendar that features members of the Knapely of Women’s Institute to discreetly pose nude while engaging themselves in their everyday activities like knitting, baking, and many others in order to raise huge amount of funds. Her proposed project is primarily with strong skepticism, but she was really eager to convince ten women to immediately and willingly participate in the project. She was able to enlist amateur photographer, hospital workers to help and guide them with the best concept for the project.
The head of Women’s Institute branch refused to sanction their calendar hence Annie and Chris were forced to seek help in the national congress in London just to plead the case. They are eventually told that the final decision was to agree with calendar sale. The first printing of the calendar was a success and it was bombarded with good reports and feedbacks. The women who are part of the calendar were invited to be the guest on the show of Jay Leno in Los Angeles.
Unexpectedly tension between Annie and Chris exists. The publicity that surrounds the calendar has taken toll on some aspects of their personal lives and they are lashed out with frustrations and angriness. Annie accused Chris that she ignores her son and husband and even their family business needs in favor to the newfound celebrity. Chris also greatly believes that Annie is Mother Theresa who easily welcomes people wherein she allows bereaved and ill people to bombard with their fan mail. All of such issues were eventually resolved and the women returned home and go back to their normal life before they removed their own clothing.
Production and Inspiration
Much of the events in the film were shot in the Kettlewell village in North Yorkshire. Additional places that are part of the film includes Burnsall, Linton, Ealing, Settle, Coniston, Buckden, Illkley, Westminster, Malham and many others. Interiors of the film were shot in Shepperton Studios. The pictures of the film were taken by a professional photographer named Jaap Buitendijk.
The films soundtrack was very amazing and interesting that includes “Sloop John B”, “You Upset Me Baby”, “Comin’ Home Baby”, “The Way You Do the Things You Do”. This film was first premiered in the Locarno Film Festival and later shown in the Film fest at the Hamburg and all other festivals such as the Warsaw Film Festival, Tokyo International Film Festival and even the UK Film Festival.
The great inspiration of this film is more on the people who have died with leukemia especially the husband of Angela Baker who died at the age of 54 because of leukemia. This is one of their effective means of raising huge amount of fund in order to awaken people’s mind to help and support leukemia patients in their own little way.