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Big Time Operators (1957)

The Smallest Show on Earth (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy | 31 October 1960 (Sweden)
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:

(original story), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jean
...
Matt
...
Mrs. Fazackalee
...
Mr. Quill
...
Old Tom
Francis De Wolff ...
Albert Hardcastle (as Francis de Wolff)
...
Robin
...
Marlene Hogg
...
Mr. Hogg
George Cross ...
Commissionaire
George Cormack ...
Bell
Stringer Davis ...
Emmett
Michael Corcoran ...
Taxi Driver
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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

Taglines:

A Bonanza of British Belly Laughs See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 October 1960 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Big Time Operators  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scenes of Comin' Thro the Rye (1923) with Margaret Rutherford at the piano show Alma Taylor and Shayle Gardner. The film was directed by Cecil Hepworth and still exists. See more »

Goofs

When Carter takes the Spensers to the cinema, their positions and the position of the cart outside the cinema change from the overhead shot to the one looking from behind them towards the cinema. The shadows change between shots as well. 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 The Goose Steps Out (1942) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A comedy which is truer to life than some may imagine.
7 January 2000 | by (Surrey, England) – See all my reviews

The younger generation of filmgoers, used to the antiseptic cleanliness of the multiplexes, may not realise that "fleapits" like the Bijou in "The Smallest Show On Earth" did actually exist in post-war Britain. Starved of resources during the war and with restrictions on non-essential building in force until the mid fifties, many small cinemas were in a very sorry state with broken seats, threadbare carpets, antiquated projection equipment and even torn and patched screens.

It is against this background that this charming comedy is set with wonderfully eccentric characters played by Peter Sellers, Margaret Rutherford and Bernard Miles.

The principal character is, however, the Bijou itself. This was a set, the exterior having been temporarily constructed between two railway bridges in Kilburn, a London suburb. The rival cinema, the Grand, was, in fact, a real cinema - the Gaumont at Hammersmith, also a London suburb. If you look closely, it is possible to see that the new name is rather clumsily superimposed.

To someone brought up in the fifties, this film brings back fond memories. To the younger viewers it gives an intriguing glimpse into the past by showing a way of life gone forever.


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