The Smallest Show on Earth

The Smallest Show on Earth

Basil Dearden (1957)

U Certificate


Our Score
In praise of fleapits everywhere, this charming comedy will bring back happy memories for anyone who pines for the days when going to the pictures meant something more than being conveyor-belted in and out of a soulless multiplex. Fondly scripted by John Eldridge and William Rose - the latter penned Genevieve and The Ladykillers - and deftly directed by Basil Dearden, it stars Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna as a couple who inherit a crumbling cinema. The cast alone makes the movie a must-see, and the sequence in which projectionist Peter Sellers, pianist Margaret Rutherford and doorman Bernard Miles relive the glories of the silent era is adorable.


A newly married couple inherit a dilapidated cinema and its incompetent staff and resolve to transform its fortunes. They soon find, however, that their hopes for the future are far more difficult to realise than anticipated. Basil Dearden's comedy, starring Bill Travers, Virginia McKenna, Peter Sellers, Margaret Rutherford, Bernard Miles and Leslie Phillips.

Cast & Crew

Jean Spenser Virginia McKenna
Matt Spenser Bill Travers
Percy Quill Peter Sellers
Mrs Fazackalee Margaret Rutherford
Robin Carter Leslie Phillips
Old Tom Bernard Miles
Hardcastle Francis De Wolff
Marlene Hogg June Cunningham
Mr Hogg Sidney James
Commissioner George Cross
Bell George Cormack
Emmett Stringer Davis
Director Basil Dearden
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteTheatrical distributor: British Lion Film Corp LtdAvailable on: video and DVD