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 »
A duke usurps his brother's land and power, banishing him and his retinue into the forest of Arden. The banished duke's daughter, Rosalind, remains with her cousin Celia. She has fallen in ... See full summary »
Ivan Kouznetsoff, a Russian engineer, recounts during World War II his stay in England prior to the war working on a new propeller for ice-breaking ships. Naïve about British people and ... 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
Part of Laurence Olivier's performance was based on the Music Hall comedian Max Miller a.k.a. "The Cheeky Chappy" ("They'll never be another one like me"). Miller was anything but third rate, having been the highest-paid variety show entertainer of his time at 1,500 pounds per week, plus a percentage of the takings. (Olivier purposely toned down the act because being third rate was part of the story.) Miller never performed in Blackpool however because he believed his humor wouldn't travel to the north. See more »
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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