HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
America America
Darkest Minds, The
Along Came Jones
Hummingbird Project, The
Under the Table You Must Go
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War
Hanging Tree, The
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
Itsy Bitsy
Witchmaker, The
Prey, The
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Happy Death Day 2U
Full Moon High
Strange But True
Kamikaze 1989
Never Grow Old
Time of Your Life, The
Mountain Men, The
Epic
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Isabelle
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Oblomov
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
Ibiza Undead
Wings of Eagles, The
Beats
Body Parts
Shock of the Future, The
Friday
   
 
Newest Articles
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
Things Have Changed: Films You'd Be Insane to Make Now
   
 
  Entertainer, The Always Leave 'Em LaughingBuy this film here.
Year: 1960
Director: Tony Richardson
Stars: Laurence Olivier, Brenda de Banzie, Roger Livesey, Joan Plowright, Alan Bates, Daniel Massey, Albert Finney, Shirley Anne Field, Thora Hird, Miriam Karlin, Geoffrey Toone, MacDonald Hobley, Anthony Oliver, Max Bacon, George Doonan, Charles Gray
Genre: Drama
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Archie Rice (Laurence Olivier) is an entertainer of the old school, performing his variety hall act to dwindling audiences in Morecambe, but carrying on regardless since he doesn't see any other way to live. He has three offspring, his daughter Jean (Joan Plowright) is coming up from London where she works as an art teacher, and is tentatively engaged to businessman Graham (Daniel Massey), but is leaving him behind since her brother (Albert Finney) is being sent to Suez to be part of the British Army dealing with the crisis there. She feels she should be with her family at this time, and sure enough there is trouble when the young man is captured by the rebels - but is Archie bothered?

Well, yes, he is but more likely to face problems with a joke and a song than he is to tackle them head on, in this, Lord Olivier's favourite screen role and one of his favourite stage ones too. He had noted the Angry Young Men emerging in British theatre and rather than dismissing them and retreating to the Bard, he embraced them and requested their leading light John Osborne to pen a role for him, so The Entertainer was the result. It was a huge success, an unbeatable combination of the two men's talents and was relevant to the era it was created, thereby keeping both relevant in the process; call it canny, but also call it intelligent when they knew they could bring out the best in each of them.

It was not merely a tale of a comedian going down the dumper, though there was a strong element of that, but it was a metaphor for how Britain found itself in the world after the Suez Crisis, not a superpower anymore and less relevant than they had been even a decade before, a precipitous drop-off from their previous status. Osborne was not subtle about this, but he did not bash you over the head with his allusions either, as while Suez was a major part of the plot, you could equally regard this as a farewell to the music halls as entertainment moved on into the sixties, and that old-time glamour, a somewhat seedy one at that, was eclipsed by the new, up and coming acts.

Of course, the irony here was that the sixties would see Britain dominate the world again - only not through its military, through its entertainment. The rest of the world couldn't get enough of British movie stars and pop and rock acts, they truly led the way, but crucially, the old pros like Archie Rice and his father Billy (Roger Livesey) would not be part of it, it was a new landscape of diversions that would look down on the Rices as part of the past. Certainly, there was an interest at home in Victorian and Edwardian culture, but it fed into something fresh and self-aware; Olivier wasn't to know this when he took the role here, but he and Osborne were onto something, and The Entertainer was looking ahead as much as it was looking behind, at a pivotal point for more reasons than one.

Needless to say, Olivier absolutely owned the role, the smart casting of the greatest Shakespearean of his generation as a down at heel variety act proving its worth when he brought such humanity to his delusions that he doesn't really believe in anyway. And historically, the film conjured up images of a bygone age - the seaside resorts are still there, but no longer the draw they once were, seen as downmarket and (a word that is used here like a curse) "common". When Archie sees his dream of getting his own headlining show in London as he finds a backer in the mother (Thora Hird) of his latest conquest (Shirley Anne Field), who came second in the beauty contest he was judging (but not first!), he almost believes he can escape his drudgery and daily (and nightly) grind which is not helped by his high-strung wife (Brenda de Banzie, all raw nerves). But naturally, at the end of an era there will always be casualties. The Entertainer was criticised at the time for its essential theatricality, and it does have its lapses, but as a record of Olivier's classic performance, it has great value. Music by John Addison.

[Available as part of the BFI's Woodfall box set on Blu-ray and DVD, which includes these fully restored films:

Look Back in Anger (Tony Richardson, 1959)
The Entertainer (Tony Richardson, 1960)
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (Karel Reisz, 1960)
A Taste of Honey (Tony Richardson, 1961)
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (Tony Richardson, 1962)
Tom Jones (Tony Richardson, 1963) (New 4K digital restorations of the original theatrical version of the film and the 1989 director's cut)
Girl with Green Eyes (Desmond Davis, 1964)
The Knack ...and how to get it (Richard Lester, 1965).

All that plus 20 hours of extras: short films, featurettes, interviews, audio commentaries and an extensive booklet.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 627 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: