The Entertainer

The Entertainer

Tony Richardson (1960)

99min
PG Certificate
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Review

Our Score
This was the cinema version of one of the Royal Court Theatre's most notable achievements: playwright John Osborne's follow-up to his ground-breaking Look Back in Anger. The show brought Laurence Olivier to the world of kitchen-sink drama, and dragged West End audiences off to Sloane Square to see Olivier's stunning performance as music-hall has-been Archie Rice, a seedy vaudeville artist who brings misery to all who know him. It was a personal triumph for Olivier on stage but, in enshrining the legendary actor's performance on celluloid, director Tony Richardson laid bare Olivier's technique and the result was rather too mannered. Re-editing was carried out and the cinema and press screenings delayed. Archie Rice is actually nothing more than a third-rate ham and sadly little in Olivier's screen incarnation could allow him to be that: imagine Max Miller in the part. The film flopped at the box office, yet now can be viewed as an enduring record of that great stage production. It also boasts screen debuts from two future stars, Alan Bates and Albert Finney. Olivier married co-star Joan Plowright (who plays his protective daughter Jean) the following year.

Summary

A down-at-heel, ageing seaside comedian realises the misery he has caused those who love him as he reminisces on his decline both as an entertainer and as a man. John Osborne's drama, starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Plowright, alongside Albert Finney and Alan Bates in their screen debuts, with Shirley Anne Field, Brenda de Banzie, Roger Livesey and Thora Hird.

Cast & Crew

Archie Rice Laurence Olivier
Jean Rice Joan Plowright
Mick Rice Albert Finney
Frank Rice Alan Bates
Tina Lapford Shirley Anne Field
Phoebe Rice Brenda de Banzie
Billy Rice Roger Livesey
Ada Lapford Thora Hird
Graham Daniel Massey
Director Tony Richardson
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteAvailable on: video and DVD
Drama