Graham Weir is an alcoholic schoolteacher whose criminal record for refusing to fight during the Second World War has prevented him from progressing further in his teaching career. He is ... See full summary »
Olga, Masha, and Irina Prozoroff lead lonely and purposeless lives following the death of their father who has commanded the local army post. Olga attempts to find satisfaction in teaching ... See full summary »
Archie Rice, a pathetic music hall comic, plagued by debts, manipulates those around him in a defiant and selfish attempt to survive against improbable odds. He drinks, makes crude philosophical jokes about sex and politics and humiliates his lamenting, gin-soaked wife. Archie lures his father, Billy Rice, out of retirement for a benefit performance which will ultimately bring financial aid to Archie and his impractical investments. Written by
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 »
You were a pretty little thing. Not that looks are important - not even for a woman. You don't look at the mantelpiece when you poke the fire.
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One of the best British films of the sixties, The Entertainer was written as an allegory of Britain's fall from grace by the leading fist-shaker of England's band of Angry Young Men who stormed the London stage with revolutionary new ideas and content, John Osborne. While Look Back In Anger is a more decorated play, this film adaption by Osborne and Nigel Kneale carried the flag of teeth-crunching kicks that the gang of young playwrights hoped to startle the daylights out of England with. Reading the other viewer comments, it is obvious most folks were looking for a Disney story with a Shakespearean performance by Lawrence Olivier. A happier ending? Great Britain forgot to supply one, Andy up there in the mountains somewhere, and the seedy digs were meant to be depressingly seedy, as was the dwindling talent of the family, and its reliance in the end on the grand old name and the grand old accomplishments of the past, as Archie Rice gave his best in replacing his revered father, Billy. Note his offkey performance in singing early on and then the eloquent on key final rendition of "Why Should I Care" as the final performance ends not with a curtain call, but with the hook, as the theater management (those other nations running the world today) angrily demand that Archie get off the stage because he is through, finished, washed up, fired, kaputsky, so long and goodbye. From the direction of Tony Richardson to the selection of grand old places along the sea that Britain once ruled with absolute certainty, everything and every moment of this film are topnotch. The aforementioned slandered scene with Roger Livesey as the Grandfather, Billy Rice, and Brenda de Banzie as Phoebe Rice, involving a misunderstanding over a piece of cake, is one of the most moving and depressingly realistic family arguments ever written. It may not be Olivier's greatest performance ever, but for certain it is the best one ever filmed. It also features the film debut of two actors who would establish themselves among the very best performers Great Britain has offered us, Alan Bates and Albert Finney, along with the introduction of Joan Plowright. As for the unkind comment about Olivier marrying Joan Plowright and this somehow having an ironic similarity to the theme of Archie and his young women; they married in 1961 and REMAINED together until Olivier's death in 1989, which is completely the opposite of the point made in the story. Well anyone is allowed to be in error, but this great film has to rank with our own country's Night of the Hunter as one of the most misunderstood films of all time. Don't miss it,ever, and MGM Vintage Classics has issued an excellent DVD edition.
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