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   1,045 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:
Have a good scratch...and watch it! See more (32 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)

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


Production CompaniesDistributors

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:
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:
Continuity: At one point, Carter is talking to Matt Spenser with his hands by his side and the next shot shows Carter holding Matt by the arms.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 »
Movie Connections:
Featured in A Bit of Scarlet (1997)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
17 out of 18 people found the following review useful.
Have a good scratch...and watch it!, 28 August 2006
Author: benbrae76

Husband-and-wife team Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna play a newly married couple who inherit a dilapidated cinema (and its elderly, incompetent and equally dilapidated staff), and try to restore it to something like it's original glory. However they soon discover that it's not going to be as easy as perhaps they first thought. There is competition from a huge modern cinema just across the street, which is in need of a car-park. The site of the old "Bijou" would be just the thing.

This is a terrific comedy (written by Basil Dearden), and features Peter Sellers, Margaret Rutherford, Bernard Miles as the cinema staff, and Leslie Phillips as the Bijou owner's solicitor.

Any American, or indeed any youngster, watching this movie might be slightly bemused, and consider it all a bit implausible. I can tell them that it's not, and so can any Brit over a certain age. When this film was made, every town in the UK had a "flea-pit" (i.e. it's very own "Bijou"). In the town in which I was raised, it was called "The Select".

Events depicted in this movie happened at these cinemas on a regular basis. The films shown were usually as decrepit as the cinema itself. (In the case of the "Select" they were usually the awful B&W "horror" movies which no other theatre would show. If the film didn't break at least once, or a reel was put on the projector in time, and/or was not in the wrong order, you were there on a lucky night.) For all of us of the age, to re-watch this little memorial to the old flea-pit, is a real nostalgic blast from the past, and I defy any newcomers to the movie, not to warm to it, either from it's occasional pathos and/or it's hilarious comedy. So go on, take my advice, have a good scratch, and watch it. The film may be fiction, but what you see actually happened!

Was the above review useful to you?
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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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