IMDb > Big Time Operators (1957)
The Smallest Show on Earth
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Big Time Operators (1957) More at IMDbPro »The Smallest Show on Earth (original title)

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Overview

User Rating:
7.0/10   1,018 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
William Rose (screenplay)
John Eldridge (screenplay)
Contact:
View company contact information for Big Time Operators on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
16 March 1962 (Finland) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
A young couple inherits a debt-ridden old movie theater, appropriately nicknamed "The Flea Pit," and the three eccentric senior citizens who work there. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for BAFTA Film Award. See more »
User Reviews:
A comedy which is truer to life than some may imagine. See more (31 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Virginia McKenna ... Jean Spenser

Bill Travers ... Matt Spenser
Margaret Rutherford ... Mrs. Fazackalee

Peter Sellers ... Percy Quill

Bernard Miles ... Old Tom
Francis De Wolff ... Albert Hardcastle

Leslie Phillips ... Robin Carter
June Cunningham ... Marlene Hogg
Sidney James ... Mr. Hogg
George Cross ... Commissionaire
George Cormack ... Bell
Stringer Davis ... Emmett
Michael Corcoran ... Taxi Driver
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
John Bush ... Cast Member (uncredited)
Marian Collins ... Ice-Cream Girl (uncredited)
Liz Fraser ... Girl in Cinema (uncredited)

Frazer Hines ... Cast Member (uncredited)
Billy Lawrence ... Cast Member (uncredited)
John Pike ... Cast Member (uncredited)
Lynne Roberts ... Cast Member (uncredited)
Michael Scoble ... Cast Member (uncredited)
Leslie Slysz ... Cast Member (uncredited)
The Blake Twins ... Cast Members (uncredited)
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Directed by
Basil Dearden 
 
Writing credits
William Rose (screenplay & original story)

John Eldridge (screenplay)

Produced by
Leslie Gilliat .... associate producer
Michael Relph .... producer
Sidney Gilliat .... executive producer (uncredited)
Frank Launder .... executive producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
William Alwyn 
 
Cinematography by
Douglas Slocombe 
 
Film Editing by
Oswald Hafenrichter 
 
Art Direction by
Allan Harris 
 
Costume Design by
Anthony Mendleson 
 
Makeup Department
Hilda Fox .... hair stylist
Harry Frampton .... makeup artist
 
Production Management
John Pellatt .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Eddie Pike .... assistant director
John Meadows .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Claude Watson .... third assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
John Earl .... draughtsman (uncredited)
Roy Walker .... draughtsman (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Buster Ambler .... sound recordist
Arthur Cox .... dubbing editor
John Cox .... sound supervisor
Bob Jones .... sound recordist
John Aldred .... dubbing crew (uncredited)
Jimmy Dooley .... sound camera operator (uncredited)
Ken Ritchie .... boom operator (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Bob Cuff .... special effects (as R. Cuff)
Wally Veevers .... special effects
 
Visual Effects by
Bob Cuff .... matte painter (uncredited)
George Samuels .... special processes (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Jeff Seaholme .... camera operator
Paddy Aherne .... focus puller (uncredited)
Ron Drinkwater .... focus puller (uncredited)
Norman Hargood .... still photographer (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Guy Ambler .... second assistant editor (uncredited)
Alan Corder .... second assistant editor (uncredited)
Eileen Daines .... second assistant editor (uncredited)
Alban Streeter .... assistant editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Muir Mathieson .... conductor
 
Other crew
Jane Buck .... continuity
Sidney Gilliat .... presenter
Frank Launder .... presenter
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"The Smallest Show on Earth" - UK (original title)
See more »
Runtime:
80 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Comin' Thro the Rye (1923) was not filmed just for this movie but was an actual Silent Classic directed by 'Cecil M Hepworth'.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: 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:
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 »
Movie Connections:
Features Comin' Thro the Rye (1923)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
21 out of 21 people found the following review useful.
A comedy which is truer to life than some may imagine., 7 January 2000
Author: Sylvester from Surrey, England

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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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Big Time Operators (1957)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
peter sellers old?? kateyk12
Goofs ? Greenman58
No Margaret Rutherford Near the End? smthdonovan
Bill Travers jeremy3
Did the couple come from north Wales? jeremy3
Check out the DVD mam13143
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