HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Whale Island
Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires
Don't Breathe 2
Closing Time
Cryptozoo
Weathering with You
Rim of the World
Love & Basketball
JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time
Trapped
We Need to Do Something
Falbalas
Vanguard
A-X-L
Injustice
Bigfoot Hunters
Armitage III: Polymatrix
Girls Nite Out
Moxie!
Five Women for the Killer
Dolce Vita, La
Pig
I Am Belmaya
Lodger, The
Show, The
Beta Test, The
Medium, The
John and the Hole
Survivalist, The
Ape Woman, The
Black Widow
Cop Secret
Dark Eyes of London, The
V/H/S/94
Fay Grim
Night of the Animated Dead
Freshman Year
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Anne at 13,000 Ft.
Even Mice Belong in Heaven
   
 
Newest Articles
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
   
 
  Entertainer, The Always Leave 'Em Laughing
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: DramaBuy from Amazon
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 1564 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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: