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

7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,123 users  
Reviews: 33 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.

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Title: Big Time Operators (1957)

Big Time Operators (1957) on IMDb 7/10

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »
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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
...
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

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

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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:

1.75: 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The production insurers declined to cover Margaret Rutherford, so all her scenes were squeezed into seven days. 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

Jean: [Reacting to seeing the inside of the theater and its employees for the first time] Flea pit? More like "The Snake Pit!"
See more »

Connections

References The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) 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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