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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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(adapted from the play by), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Archie Rice (as Lawrence Olivier in closing credits)
Brenda de Banzie ...
Phoebe Rice (as Brenda De Banzie in closing credits)
...
...
...
...
...
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

The story of Archie Rice, set during the Suez Crisis, was a parable for the decline of the UK as a world power. See more »

Quotes

Archie Rice: Did I ever tell you the most moving thing I ever heard?
Jean Rice: OH, dad...
Archie Rice: No, no, it's not a gag. It was when I was in Canada. I used to slip over the border sometimes. One night I heard some Negress singing in a bar. If ever I saw any hope or strength in the human race, it was in the face of that old fat Negress getting up to sing about... Jesus, or something like that. I never even liked that kind of music, but to see that old bag singing her heart out to the whole world... And you knew somehow that...
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Connections

Referenced in Tootsie (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Staffordshire Knot
(uncredited)
Music by William James Duthoit
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User Reviews

 
some folks should just stick to Disney
14 May 2005 | by (naples, florida) – See all my reviews

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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