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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 Pair on Earth in 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

Also known as "The Smallest Show on Earth ". See more »

Goofs

When the Spensers and Carter are in the pub after the first meeting with Hardcastle, Carter has his glass in his right hand in the first shot, but is shown using his left hand to put the glass down on to the table in the next shot. 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

References The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Sweet-natured, droll, in its own quiet way a sublime comedy.
7 June 2004 | by jpm-15See all my reviews

It seems to me that in recent years most filmmakers believe that to hold a viewer's interest a film must be fast-paced, full of conflict, and in short "edgy". The British comedies from the this time are leisurely paced, and work extraordinarily well because they are full of wit, first-class acting, and not a small dose of irony. For me, "The Smallest Show on Earth" is a "sleeper". In the US I suspect it is lesser known than "The Mouse that Roared" and some of the wonderful Alec Guinness comedies; but I find its' gentility and droll humor to be wonderful! (I would also add that I think that it's a shame Peter Sellers - who has a marvelous supporting role as a doddering projectionist - is best known to moviegoers in the US from his Pink Panther movies, which I think were mostly a waste of his prodigious talents.)


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