MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 6,144 this week

Big Time Operators (1957)
"The Smallest Show on Earth" (original title)

7.0
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,081 users  
Reviews: 32 user | 18 critic

A young couple inherits a debt-ridden old movie theater, appropriately nicknamed "The Flea Pit," and the three eccentric senior citizens who work there.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay)
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Instant Video

WATCH NOW

IMDb Picks: April

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in April.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 45 titles
created 05 Jan 2012
 
a list of 45 titles
created 23 Dec 2013
 
a list of 422 titles
created 24 Dec 2013
 
a list of 32 titles
created 13 Feb 2014
 
a list of 1834 titles
created 8 months ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Big Time Operators (1957)

Big Time Operators (1957) on IMDb 7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Big Time Operators.
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Man-eating businesswoman, Angela Barrows is sent by her US company to Edinburgh to investigate export opportunities. She meets businessman Robert MacPherson en route and he persuades her to... See full summary »

Director: Charles Crichton
Stars: Peter Sellers, Robert Morley, Constance Cummings
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A naive aristocrat in search of a career becomes caught up in the struggles between his profit-minded uncle and an aggressive labour union.

Director: John Boulting
Stars: Ian Carmichael, Terry-Thomas, Peter Sellers
The Wrong Box (1966)
Adventure | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In Victorian England, a fortune now depends on which of two brothers outlives the other... or can be made to have seemed to do so!

Director: Bryan Forbes
Stars: John Mills, Michael Caine, Ralph Richardson
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A retired entertainer makes his living as a street musician on the streets of London. Two young children befriend the old musician, brightening his otherwise colorless life.

Director: Anthony Simmons
Stars: Peter Sellers, Donna Mullane, John Chaffey
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An impoverished backward nation declares a war on the United States of America, hoping to lose, but things don't go according to plan.

Director: Jack Arnold
Stars: Peter Sellers, Jean Seberg, William Hartnell
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A pirate crewman kills his captain after learning where he has hidden his buried treasure. However, as he begins to lose his memory, he relies more and more on the ghost of the man he just ... See full summary »

Directors: Peter Medak, Spike Milligan
Stars: Peter Sellers, Anthony Franciosa, Spike Milligan
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A thirty-something square falls in love with a hippie and decides to "drop out" himself.

Director: Hy Averback
Stars: Peter Sellers, Jo Van Fleet, Leigh Taylor-Young
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

This is the end of a glorious military career: General Leo Fitzjohn retires to his Sussex manor where he will write his memoirs. Unfortunately, his private life is a disaster: a confirmed ... See full summary »

Director: John Guillermin
Stars: Peter Sellers, Dany Robin, Margaret Leighton
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A Millionairess and a doctor cannot marry until they meet conditions set-up by their respective parents.

Director: Anthony Asquith
Stars: Sophia Loren, Peter Sellers, Alastair Sim
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

TV personality Robert Danvers, an exceedingly vain rotter, seduces young women daily, never staying long with one. He meets his match in Marion, an American, 19, who's available but refuses... See full summary »

Director: Roy Boulting
Stars: Peter Sellers, Goldie Hawn, Tony Britton
Certificate: M Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Sir Guy Grand, the richest man in the world, adopts a homeless boy, Youngman. Together, they set out to prove that anyone--and anything--can be bought with money.

Director: Joseph McGrath
Stars: Peter Sellers, Ringo Starr, Isabel Jeans
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

Fu Manchu's 168th birthday celebration is dampened when a hapless flunky spills Fu's age-regressing elixir vitae. Fu sends his lackeys to round up ingredients for a new batch of elixir, ... See full summary »

Directors: Piers Haggard, Richard Quine, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Peter Sellers, Helen Mirren, David Tomlinson
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jean Spenser
...
Matt Spenser
Margaret Rutherford ...
Mrs. Fazackalee
...
Percy Quill
...
Old Tom
Francis De Wolff ...
Albert Hardcastle
...
Robin Carter
June Cunningham ...
Marlene Hogg
Sidney James ...
Mr. Hogg
George Cross ...
Commissionaire
George Cormack ...
Bell
Stringer Davis ...
Emmett
Michael Corcoran ...
Taxi Driver
Edit

Storyline

Jean and Bill are a struggling married couple with Bill trying to scrape a living as a writer. Out of the blue they receive a telegram informing them that Bill's long-lost uncle has died and left them his business - a cinema in the town of Sloughborough. They pack their bags and travel to Sloughborough expecting to sell the cinema to gain a huge inheritance, however, they discover the cinema is falling apart and is run by a comically incompetant staff who seem to have worked there forever. They set out with a plan to sell it but things don't quite go to plan. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 March 1962 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Big Time Operators  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The viewer twice sees a close up of a bottle of whiskey, for which Quill has a weakness. Unusually it is not a prop label but a bottle of a genuine mainstream brand, Dewars. There was surely no question of product placement as Quill is clearly shown to have a drink problem. See more »

Goofs

When Mrs Fazackalee tells Matt Carter that she "can't tolerate Mr Quill", her position changes between shots, from close to the desk to being near the middle of the room. See more »

Quotes

Hardcastle: A nice young couple like yourself, you've no business in this business. If you'd seen your great uncle what it did for him in the end! That old battle-ax Mrs. Fazackalee! I remember when she was a wee slip of a thing, pretty as a picture - a "B" picture, mind yuh!
[laughs]
See more »

Connections

References Guilty? (1956) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A very funny movie
29 November 2004 | by (Illinois) – See all my reviews

I am happy to read all the kudos from other film buffs for this little gemstone of a movie. It will seem corny and boring to those brought up on Hollywood in the past 30 years but if they would open up their minds to dry humor and sweetness there is much to enjoy in 'The Smallest Show on Earth.' First off the cast are top-drawer English comedians that are now extinct, sadly. Margaret Rutherford, Bernard Miles and Peter Sellars crown the story with their three highly eccentric and touching portrayals of the old hands at The Bijou, better known as The Flea Pit, an old opera house turned "Kinema". Bernard Miles, especially, gives a highly subtle and often moving portrayal of an aging janitor who lives on for a new uniform. Nowadays he'd be tossed in a home to rot, suffering from "dementia" or some such thing the medical profession has created to niche people for more convenient disposal. But in the days of the making of this movie people like old Tom (Miles) were allowed to continue with their lives, dotty as could be, but happy and earning a living, happy with his cats and his new uniform.

The "straight" couple, the new owners of the Flea Pit, are wonderfully done by the very handsome and under-rated Bill Travers and his real-life wife Virginia McKenna. Travers had the timing sense of Cary Grant, and was much better looking into the bargain. At 6'6" tall he had an engagingly masculine yet vulnerable way about him. He and McKenna have some of the cornier lines and the jokiness can be a bit "eye-rolling" but aside from that period humor this movie is filled with a dry wit that has always been beyond the abilities of Hollywood screen-writers to pen.

There is one scene in particular that sticks in the mind. The three old hands are alone at night in the old theatre. A silent film is playing, Mrs Fazackalee (Rutherford) is at the tinny old piano in the orchestra pit, Old Tom (Miles) is sitting with his cat in the front row. Mr Quill (Sellars) is in the control booth. Only Sellars speaks briefly to the new owners as they arrive upon the scene, lost in the "old days" of the kinema. Just the sight of Rutherford at the piano improvising music to the old love story on the screen, and Miles and his cat in the front row is enough to evoke tears. Longing for lost innocence I suppose.

This movie is loaded with a high humor, no vulgarity, sex or profanity comes into it. A very memorable little film that is long overdue for release on DVD. I was lucky enough to find a good quality VHS copy at Facets in Chicago in case anyone's had trouble rounding up a copy. An excellent miniature masterpiece portraying a more innocent and lovely period of time in our benighted 20th century.


41 of 41 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Check out the DVD mam13143
peter sellers old?? kateyk12
feeling the inspiration Ultimate007
Goofs ? Greenman58
Bill Travers jeremy3
Did the couple come from north Wales? jeremy3
Discuss Big Time Operators (1957) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?