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The Entertainer (1960)

Not Rated | | Drama | 2 December 1960 (Denmark)
Archie Rice (Sir Laurence Olivier), an old-time British music hall performer sinking into final defeat, schemes to stay in show business.

Director:

Tony Richardson

Writers:

John Osborne (adapted from the play by), John Osborne (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Laurence Olivier ... Archie Rice (as Lawrence Olivier)
Brenda de Banzie ... Phoebe Rice (as Brenda De Banzie)
Roger Livesey ... Billy Rice
Joan Plowright ... Jean Rice
Alan Bates ... Frank Rice
Daniel Massey ... Graham
Albert Finney ... Mick Rice
Shirley Anne Field ... Tina Lapford (as Shirley Ann Field)
Thora Hird ... Ada Lapford
Miriam Karlin ... Soubrette
Geoffrey Toone ... Harold Hubbard
MacDonald Hobley MacDonald Hobley ... McDonald Hobley (as McDonald Hobley)
Anthony Oliver Anthony Oliver ... Interviewer
Max Bacon Max Bacon ... Charlie Klein
George Doonan George Doonan ... Eddie Trimmer
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Storyline

On the far side of middle age, Archie Rice (Sir Laurence Olivier) lives in a British seaside resort with his father, retired successful vaudevillian Billy Rice (Roger Livesey), second wife Phoebe Rice (Brenda de Banzie), and doting son Frank Rice (Sir Alan Bates). Following in retired Billy's footsteps, Archie is a song-and-dance music hall headliner, with Frank supporting his dad as his shows' stage manager. The waning popularity of Archie's type of shows, a dying form of entertainment, is not helped by Archie's stale second rate material, which brings in small unappreciative crowds. Archie clings to his long-held lifestyle, including heavy drinking and chronic infidelity, of which Phoebe is aware. What Archie has not told his offspring is that Phoebe was his mistress while he was still married to their now deceased mother. His want to be a music hall headliner is despite his financial problems, he an undischarged bankrupt who now signs Phoebe's name to everything. Phoebe wants them ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Seamy, Searing Story Behind the Smile!... See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 December 1960 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Tribunehelten See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir Laurence Olivier was nominated for the 1958 Tony Award (New York City) for Actor in a Drama for "The Entertainer" as Archie Rice and re-created the role in this movie. See more »

Quotes

Frank Rice: Cheer up love, life isn't as bad as all that, and even if it is, there's nothing we can do about it.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Great Performances: Laurence Olivier: A Life (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

The Boy I Love Is Up in the Gallery
(uncredited)
Written by George Ware
Performed by Brenda de Banzie and Joan Plowright
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"What Do I Care"
21 August 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

That little song that Laurence Olivier sings through out The Entertainer as part of his musical hall act really does sum up his philosophy of life.

Outside of the classics this is Olivier's greatest role and some would not even put that qualifier on his performance. Olivier retained great affection for his role as Archie Rice. He said it contained more of the real him than any other role.

That's hard to believe because what Archie Rice is is a third rate song and dance man. His father played by Roger Livesey was a great performer back in the day. But Archie never has and never will make it to the top. Think Frank Sinatra and Frank Sinatra, Jr. and you get some idea.

He's more like Willy Loman in that he's facing his midlife crisis, knowing full well he's not really accomplished all that much. Still he plods on. Unlike Willy the luckless middle-aged salesman, Archie's full of tricks. His credit is all gone, and he's planning to woo and win a young beauty who's an airhead like her mom with the object of getting their backing for a new show. He's ready to throw over wife Brenda DaBanzie without a by your leave.

The only one who Olivier has any kind of human feelings for is his daughter played by Joan Plowright. It was in the original cast of The Entertainer that Olivier first met the woman who became the third and last Mrs. Olivier. When he was made a peer in fact Joan became Lady Olivier.

In fact from the Broadway production, Olivier, Plowright and DaBanzie were the only ones from that cast who were in the film. But some rising young talent like Alan Bates, Albert Finney, and Daniel Massey all got some good first notice in The Entertainer playing Olivier's two sons and Plowright's fiancé.

The Entertainer is a downer of a film. There ain't a middle aged man who doesn't know what Archie is going through. But our sympathies are never with him. Usually that would mean one big box office flop if the audience can't sympathize or empathize. But it's Olivier's skill as a player that makes us want to see what does become of Archie.

It's an ending, but in a very minor key. Well deserved I thought.


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