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Big Time Operators (1957)

The Smallest Show on Earth (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy | 31 October 1960 (Sweden)
A young couple inherits a debt-ridden old movie theater, appropriately nicknamed "The Flea Pit," and the three eccentric senior citizens who work there.

Director:

Basil Dearden

Writers:

William Rose (original story), John Eldridge (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Virginia McKenna ... Jean Spenser
Bill Travers ... Matt Spenser
Margaret Rutherford ... Mrs. Fazackalee
Peter Sellers ... Mr. Percy Quill
Bernard Miles ... Old Tom
Francis De Wolff Francis De Wolff ... Albert Hardcastle (as Francis de Wolff)
Leslie Phillips ... Robin Carter
June Cunningham ... Marlene Hogg
Sidney James ... Mr. Hogg
George Cross George Cross ... Grand Commissionaire
George Cormack George Cormack ... Sam Bell
Stringer Davis Stringer Davis ... Fred Emmett
Michael Corcoran Michael Corcoran ... Taxi Driver
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Storyline

Jean and Bill are a struggling married couple with Bill trying to scrape a living as a writer. Out of the blue they receive a telegram informing them that Bill's long-lost uncle has died and left them his business - a cinema in the town of Sloughborough. They pack their bags and travel to Sloughborough expecting to sell the cinema to gain a huge inheritance, however, they discover the cinema is falling apart and is run by a comically incompetant staff who seem to have worked there forever. They set out with a plan to sell it but things don't quite go to plan. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Funniest Show on Earth! See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 October 1960 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Big Time Operators See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The viewer twice sees a close up of a bottle of whisky, 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

When Carter is told by the Spensers "We've seen the cinema", his glasses shift from his face to his hand in consecutive shots. See more »

Quotes

Jean: [Reacting to seeing the inside of the theater and its employees for the first time] Flea pit? More like "The Snake Pit!"
See more »

Connections

Features Comin' Thro the Rye (1923) See more »

Soundtracks

God Save the Queen
(uncredited)
trad.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A must-see film for those who love film.
23 June 1999 | by Hup234!See all my reviews

Who hasn't seen a forlorn, forgotten little neighborhood theatre and fantasized about reopening it, and making it work? For Jean and Matt, though, who have no options after starting over in a strange city, it becomes a necessity. The hopeless crusade becomes the kind of poignant-yet-hilarious stuff that makes for an unforgettable film. Margaret Rutherford, Peter Sellers and Bernard Miles, as the former staff members recalled from retirement, have a magical scene together in the Bijou's darkened auditorium one night after closing time, recalling the old days with a silent film and the disused piano. Great stuff. I only wish the film was longer.


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