7.1/10
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27 user 11 critic

The Entertainer (1960)

Archie Rice, an old-time British music hall performer sinking into final defeat, schemes to stay in show business.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Archie Rice (as Lawrence Olivier)
Brenda de Banzie ...
...
...
...
...
...
Mick Rice
...
Tina Lapford (as Shirley Ann Field)
...
Ada Lapford
Miriam Karlin ...
Soubrette
...
Harold Hubbard
MacDonald Hobley ...
McDonald Hobley (as McDonald Hobley)
Anthony Oliver ...
Interviewer
Max Bacon ...
Charlie Klein
George Doonan ...
Eddie Trimmer
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Storyline

On the far side of middle age, Archie Rice lives in a British seaside resort with his father, retired successful vaudevillian Billy Rice, second wife Phoebe Rice, and doting son Frank Rice. Following in retired Billy's footsteps, Archie is a song-and-dance music hall headliner, with Frank supporting his dad as his shows' stage manager. The waning popularity of Archie's type of shows, a dying form of entertainment, is not helped by Archie's stale second rate material, which brings in small unappreciative crowds. Archie clings to his long held lifestyle, including heavy drinking and chronic infidelity, of which Phoebe is aware. What Archie has not told his offspring is that Phoebe was his mistress while he was still married to their now deceased mother. His want to be a music hall headliner is despite his financial problems, he an undischarged bankrupt who now signs Phoebe's name to everything. Phoebe wants them to escape this life to something more stable, such as the offer from her ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

As the applause grew fainter ... As the spotlight grew dimmer ... His women were younger!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 December 1960 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

A komédiás  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Osborne wrote his play "The Entertainer" specifically at the request of Laurence Olivier, who wanted the Angry Young Man of the British theater to create a vehicle for him, one of the figures of the British Establishment that Osborne was rebelling against. Olivier hoped that appearing in the Osborne play would make him relevant to a new generation of theater goers. It proved to be one of Olivier's greatest stage successes (The Colonial Theatre in Boston has a plaque on the outside wall commemorating Olivier's appearance there during the US tour of the play), while the film adapted from the play won him the sixth of his ten acting Academy Award nominations. His performance as Archie Rice, as well as his marriage to his young co-star Joan Plowright, one of the leading actresses of the new wave of British thespians, did keep Olivier contemporary with the new leaders of the British theater. Conversely, Olivier's generational contemporaries, including the actors John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson and the playwright Terence Rattigan, would become to seem stout and old-fashioned as they failed to keep up with the theatrical evolution. (Gielgud would counter with the role of Julian in Edward Albee's obscure "Tiny Alice" on Broadway in 1962, but outside of the classical repertoire, he and Richardson did not recover their cachet as actors in contemporary plays until the mid-1970s, in Harold Pinter's "No Man's Land".) Olivier would help shepherd the new generation of actors, directors and playwrights as the head of the National Theatre in the 1960s and early '70s. See more »

Quotes

Frank Rice: Cheer up love, life isn't as bad as all that, and even if it is, there's nothing we can do about it.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Censura: Alguns Cortes (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Winter Garden Dance
(uncredited)
Music by Ronald Cass
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User Reviews

The last, golden days of Morecambe...
13 July 2000 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

As someone who lives only a couple of miles away from where this film was set, it makes me practically WEEP to see how busy and vibrant Morecambe used to be in the 50s/60s. OK, so the film is about how it's passed its heyday, but compared to how it is now - seeing the same scenery (it's hardly changed) - the Midland Hotel, The Winter Gardens (now a nightclub), it's hard not to get painful pangs of nostalgia.

This is ultimately a depressing film - Archie is one of those people who deals with tragedy by "blanking" it out with bad jokes. In the film he seduces the winner (2nd place) of a beauty contest - a woman old enough to be his daughter. Shortly after the film, Laurence Oliver married Joan Plowright who actually PLAYED his daughter in this film. Anyone for irony?

There are some wonderfully subtle takes on British "class" - I love Thora Hird (a long way from Praise Be and Stannah Stairlifts here) as the grasping mum of the Beauty-contest winner, while Brenda de Banzie is great as neurotic, looked-over, teary, nervy Phoebe - "I've got a new job in Woolworths, on the electrical counter. It's OK, but the girls are a bit common." Well Phoebe, you'll be pleased to know that the branch of Woolworths is still there...


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