February 27, 2017


The Entertainer – 1960 | 96 mins | Drama | B&W


Plot Synopsis

The Entertainer

John Osborne’s Royal Court Theatre success and quirky indictment of post-war ’50s stagnation is less successful than the sum of its stellar cast. The bleak story dwells excessively in kitchen-sink sentimentality and remains numbingly stage-bound, despite extensive location shooting and the composed, inventive photography of Oswald Morris. Oscar-nominated Laurence Olivier’s compellingly replicates the grotesque aspects of his stage triumph alongside a terrific support cast including his wife, Joan Plowright, Roger Livesey resurrecting Colonel Blimp, Brenda de Banzie, Shirley Ann Field, Thora Hird and Daniel Massey. The film also presented screen debuts to future acting luminaries Alan Bates and Albert Finney.

Vaudevillian seaside entertainer Archie Rice (Laurence Olivier) is a failure in his career and as a family man. The egotistical has-been performer believes the show must go on even if that means a creaky act to an indifferent audience, stringing along his fellow performers, exploiting the hopes and money of a starlet (Shirley Anne Field) and neglecting his own family. This is Archie’s world, but not everyone wants to live in it. Meanwhile his alcoholic wife Phoebe (Brenda De Banzie) desperately tries to drown out her husband’s affairs, despairing only daughter (Joan Plowright) will do everything she can to breakthrough and make him listen, son Mick (Albert Finney) is a soldier caught up in the Suez Crisis and his dying father Billy (Roger Livesay) is brought out of retirement for one more tawdry musical revue.

Production Team

Tony Richardson: Director
Ralph W Brinton: Art Direction
Oswald Morris: Cinematography
Jocelyn Rickards: Costume Design
Alan Osbiston: Film Editing
Tony Sforzini: Makeup Department
Bill Griffiths: Makeup Department
John Addison: Original Music
Harry Saltzman: Producer
Nigel Kneale: Script
John Osborne: Script
Chris Greenham: Sound Department
Peter Handford: Sound Department
Bob Jones: Sound Department


Laurence Olivier: Archie Rice
Brenda De Banzie: Phoebe Rice
Roger Livesey: Billy Rice
Joan Plowright: Jean Rice
Alan Bates: Frank Rice
Daniel Massey: Graham
Albert Finney: Mick Rice
Shirley Anne Field: Tina Lapford
Thora Hird: Mrs Ada Lapford

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