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The Entertainer [1960 film] by Tony…

The Entertainer [1960 film]

by Tony Richardson, Laurence Olivier, John Osborne (Screenwriter)

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The Entertainer (1960)

Laurence Olivier – Archie Rice
Joan Plowright – Jean Rice
Alan Bates – Frank Rice
Brenda de Banzie – Phoebe Rice
Roger Livesey – Billy Rice

Screenplay: Nigel Kneale and John Osborne, based on the latter’s play.
Director: Tony Richardson.

Black and White. 105 min.


Archie Rice, much like George Hurstwood from Carrie (1952), is a third-rate entertainer, small-scale womaniser and incorrigible loser. He is also a rather compelling proof that Laurence Olivier could play small-scale losers (Shakespeare’s tragic heroes are obviously large-scale losers) as well as anybody. In this harrowing family drama, considerably helped by excellent supporting cast which includes the legendary Roger Livesey and the not so legendary Joan Plowright (his third wife in the real life, his daughter in the movie), Larry gives one of his finest non-Shakespearean performances on the screen, as did he on the stage a few years earlier in John Osborne’s original which had been written at his request. Archie’s monologue on the empty stage, his contempt towards unresponsive audiences (“Don’t clap too loudly, it’s a very old building.”), his hitting on young actresses only to be bored with them in bed, his volatile behaviour at home, his cringeworthy fundraising attempts at the local pub: all these scenes are not only Olivier at his very best, but acting of an order the screen has seldom seen. It is a crime that this movie is virtually unknown outside the narrow circle of Larry-lovers. To make things just perfect, Tony Richardson captures to perfection the claustrophobic living conditions and the oppressive gaiety in those seaside resorts on the south coast of England. Some people may consider the dialogue too fast and too British, loaded with cryptic references that cannot swim the Channel, but this is a lazy attitude. There is more of Everyman in Archie Rice than most of us are prepared to admit. ( )
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tony Richardsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Olivier, Laurencemain authorall editionsconfirmed
Osborne, JohnScreenwritermain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bates, Alansecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
de Banzie, Brendasecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Finney, Albertsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Livesey, Rogersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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A drama of seedy music hall life centering on Archie Rice, an egotistical, third-rate British music hall performer whose career and personal life are in a down-hill spiral.

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