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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars laurence olivier gem
what a great film! from start to finish the power of the story within never fails to deliver.An excellent cast and a story of a man seemingly hellbent on self destruction as he battles with the demons of self delusion and the end of the vaudevillian actor. On stage as Archie Rice, Laurence Olivier delivers sadness and cynicim with one breath. He is determined to elude the...
Published on 14 April 2006 by F. P. Samuelson

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3.0 out of 5 stars The Entertainer
This was a very poor print of a very good film. Pity. As a record of Olivier's performance alone it deserves better.
Published 7 months ago by M D CRONIN


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars laurence olivier gem, 14 April 2006
By 
F. P. Samuelson "fsgold" (devon,england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Entertainer [DVD][1960] (DVD)
what a great film! from start to finish the power of the story within never fails to deliver.An excellent cast and a story of a man seemingly hellbent on self destruction as he battles with the demons of self delusion and the end of the vaudevillian actor. On stage as Archie Rice, Laurence Olivier delivers sadness and cynicim with one breath. He is determined to elude the Inland Revenue,engage in affairs with teenage wannabees, and even persuade his old father to appear on stage with him.His marriage is on the rocks and his daughter seems resigned to father's illusions. It travels a rocky path, and provides a fascinating insight into the world of early 1960's seaside theatre.It is one of Olivier's masterpieces and was one of his personal favourites. Watch it and enjoy the journey from illusion to ruin.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars John Osborne, Lawrence Olivier, Tony Richardson, 16 July 2007
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Entertainer [DVD][1960] (DVD)
"Why should I care,
Why should I let it touch me?
Why shouldn't I sit down and try to let it pass over me.
Why should they stare, why should I let it get me...
What's the use of despair if they call you a square?
You're a long time dead like my old pal Fred
So why oh why should I
Bother to care?"

Archie Rice sings this depressing and cynical second-rate song as part of his depressingly bad music hall routine in The Entertainer, a depressing but skillfully acted movie. Archie Rice (Lawrence Olivier) is a third-rate, aging vaudeville entertainer, headlining his own show in the run-down English seaside resort of Morecomb. He's just about at the end of his string, playing to half-empty, bored audiences, running up debt, and desperate to stay in the business. He has a wife, Phoebe (Brenda De Banzie) who loves him and drinks too much, a daughter, Jean (Joan Plowright), who also loves him but has no illusions about him, two sons, Mick (Albert Finney), who joined the Army and is being shipped off to Suez, and Frank (Alan Bates), who works for his father in the music hall, and his own father, Billy Rice (Roger Livesey), once a headliner but now aging and retired. In the course of the movie Archie one way or another uses them, fails them or both.

The Entertainer is grim stuff. It's redeemed, I think, by two elements. First, it represents the reaction in the Fifties by British playwrights such as John Osborne to the polished, upper-class and unrealistic theater in Britain following WWII. Playwrights such as Christopher Fry and Terrence Rattigan produced hugely popular works that many thought were out of touch with reality. Then Osborne and others came along with what critics called the kitchen sink school...slices of working life, puncturing British pretensions of class and power. Watched in this context, the movie brings a lot to the table.

The second element is the acting. Olivier was the epitome of polished British theater. When he agreed to play The Entertainer on stage he instantly legitimized the style and he thoroughly revamped his own reputation. Archie Rice is a third-rate singer, dancer and comedian. "Well, you're a lovely lot tonight," he says during his act, "a lovely lot tonight. I've played in front of them all, you know...The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales...and, oh, what's the name of that other pub?" Privately, he confesses to his daughter that "I never solved a problem in my life." Olivier, who could sing and dance very well when needed, is awful and perfect. In a rare moment of honesty, Rice points out to his daughter that he is dead behind his eyes. Olivier captures that flat moment. He also has a whole troupe of excellent actors backing him up, from such experienced hands as Roger Livesey and Brenda De Banzie, to two actors making their screen debuts, Alan Bates and Albert Finney. Joan Plowright, like Olivier reprising her stage role, is excellent as his daughter...loving him and pitying him probably too much.

As something of an historical artifact of British drama and as a source of pleasure in watching skilled actors earn their money, I think The Entertainer is well worth viewing. For many of us, it's worth purchasing.

There are no extras. The DVD picture looks just fine.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, somewhat neglected film, a symbol of England's decline, 10 Aug 2008
By 
Andres C. Salama (Buenos Aires, Argentina) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Entertainer [DVD][1960] (DVD)
Laurence Olivier stars as a sleazy, third-rate music hall performer in 1960's "The Entertainer", one of the first and best films of the so called Free Cinema movement, and a movie that is somewhat neglected today (it should be better known). Based on a play by John Osborne, Olivier plays Archie Rice, a mediocre performer in grim seaside town theaters. His shows attract few people (early in the film, we see passersby sneering at the theater marquee that falsely advertises Archie as a television comedian). His father, Billy, was once a talented and successful comedian, but now he is just a cranky old man living with him and Archie's wife, the unstable Phoebe. Archie has three grown children, played respectively by Alan Bates, Albert Finney and Joan Plowright, all very early in their careers. Jean (Plowright, who would become Olivier's wife soon after this film) comes to home from London and sees her family unraveling: one of her brothers have been sent to Suez, her stepmother is becoming more and more unstable, Archie is hounded by his creditors while he imprudently starts a romance with a beauty contestant, with the hope of obtaining financing for his shows from her rich parents. Archie's life goes downhill from here, so the film is quite bleak, but it is very well done (and especially, performed). Some critics see Archie as a metaphor of postwar England, and this may indeed have been Osborne's intention, but the film plays better as a character study of a very flawed man.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Archie Rice: [to unresponsive audience] Don't clap too loudly, it's a very old building., 23 Jan 2010
By 
Peter Wade (Colchester England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Entertainer [DVD][1960] (DVD)
Archie Rice: [to unresponsive audience] Don't clap too loudly, it's a very old building.

I had been looking forward to seeing the Entertainer for a long time. I knew of it because every time they mention Max Miller they say that the Entertainer was based on his act.

It seems during Max Miller's life time that the writer John Osborne and Laurence Olivier denied it but once he was dead they said of course it was based on him. As a fan of Max Miller I wanted to see how they depicted a Max Miller type of music hall star but was a third rate exponent.

Also I am a fan of British films of the fifties an sixties as they are good examples of how Britain was at the time.

Cleverer reviewers than me will interpret the decline of Archie Rice and the music hall comedians he depicts as the decline of Britain. I can see what they mean as Archie's son played by Albert Finney is in the army and goes to Suez. This was one of the last gasps of the British empire in 1956. Britain and France tried to retake the Suez canal on their own but the US objected and because the US held the purse strings Britain had to withdraw.

I suppose it is an allegory of the music hall which declines as the British empire declines and Archie Rice like most of the British population doesn't realise it or does not want to acknowledge it. What we were doing in 1956 , ten years after a war that had bankrupted Britain doing sending an army to Egypt to reclaim assets that had been grabbed ?

It was a humiliating climb down for Britain but it finally showed us that we were not a world power any more and that we relied on the super power which at that time was the US.

Archie lives in a world where he cant pay his bills but his next show is going to be bigger and better than the current one which is losing money.

In those days comedians used to put songs in to their acts so he constantly sings Why do I care? He pretended he didn't care but he had to of course.

The filming in black and white in 1960s Britain is very effective.In those days we used to go to the seaside for our holidays, eat fish and chips and go to summer shows in theatres. This was the very early days of television.

He promises young dancers and actresses that they are going to be in his next show and as result gets to sleep with them. Interestingly he sleeps with Shirley Anne Field who becomes the girlfriend / wife of Albert Finney his son in this film but becomes a star in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning another great British film.

When I was a kid I used to hate films based on plays as I felt they were too wordy and little action. Now I like them as they are literate and maybe have something to say and do not rely on action. John Osborne is a good writer of course having written Look Back in Anger.

I was brought up in the fifties and sixties so I had heard all these jokes and we inherited the ideas of our parents and they thought that Britain was still great and that the world owed us a living.

A good film and if you love nostalgia and British nostalgia this is for you
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5.0 out of 5 stars 'Look at these eyes. I'm dead - behind these eyes. I'm dead', 24 Mar 2010
By 
possessed.by.a.lemon - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Entertainer [DVD][1960] (DVD)
I'm gonna come straight out with it. This DVD gets five stars from me. Here's a film that's largely fallen off the radar being offered for less than four quid. It just so happens to be one of my favourite movies. Sure, I'd love Criterion to get their hands on it as much as all you cinephiles out there, and if they ever do, this DVD will be dead to me. But until that day, I will continue to cherish this release.

So, yeah, you always know you're on to a bad thing when a DVD lists 'interactive menu' as its star billing. This menu only exists to allow you to select chapters; there is not one single extra to speak of. Where MGM really earns its stars, though, is the picture quality. In the age of high definition, this print more than held its own on my Blu-ray player. Likewise, the mono audio track is commendable. A bargain bin price doesn't equate to the usual bargain bin performance on this occasion.

Speaking of performances, Laurence Olivier gives one of his best, if least likely, here as Archie Rice, an allegory for Britain's fall from grace and loss of identity. Archie is a third-rate song and dance man who's seen better days. His loss is our gain as we watch him perform in Morecambe and get to witness some of that unmatchable, wonderful Sixties British seaside in the process. And The Entertainer is a very British affair with its routes in the theatre - and an incredibly accomplished supporting cast including a young Dame Thora Hird.

The coda of Archie singing 'Why Should I Care?' throughout the film takes on increasing poignancy with each reprisal before becoming his classic final act of defiance that only Olivier's performance as Hamlet can compete with.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but depressing, 25 Jun 2011
By 
Malcolm Baird - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Entertainer [DVD][1960] (DVD)
I saw this film when it first appeared and I more or less agree with the other reviewers. Depressing yes, but the film featured a troupe of brilliant actors at or near the top of their careers.

Back in 1960, things looked bad for Britain because the "empire" was on the way out; this was well within the lifetime of those who had been part of it. Everyone was talking about emigration to places such as Canada. But as Archie Rice shrewdly observed, there is no draught Bass in Canada.

And yet, were things all that bad in Britain in 1960? There was full employment in those days and the standard of living, although rather low, was increasing steadily. Compare that with present day Britain in which unemployment is sharply increasing, the standard of living is on the way down and the streets are less safe than they were. However, Britain still sends its young soldiers to risk their lives in dangerous parts of the world.

The play's author John Osborne was said to be one of the "angry young men". If he were still alive today, he would have found much more to be angry about.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Support is all good in the Morecambe late 50s sunlight, 20 Sep 2014
This review is from: The Entertainer [DVD][1960] (DVD)
The reason to watch this is the gap-toothed charm of Olivier's Archie, a subtle and powerful performance. Support is all good in the Morecambe late 50s sunlight; a sunlight which falls too on all the other 'last summers' implied by the film: innocence lost; England in decline and embroiled in the late imperial adventure of the Albert Finney character; marriage failing; the working class men who would have fought in WW1 dying out; the nuclear family falling apart; the young yearning for more than Morecambe (or Blackpool etc.). It's talky of course but has been opened out very effectively and avoids any real sense of forced sentiment. So its sadness does not come with a big emotional kick as the left-wing critique the director meant to avoid I think, on the cusp of the 60s.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dated but interesting film, 7 Sep 2014
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Ms. Susan Lomax (Manchester UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Entertainer [DVD][1960] (DVD)
Laurence Olivier singing and dancing! Despite the cover sleeve being on colour, this is a gritty black and white film set in the north of England, Morecambe to be exact, which shows many aspects of the town that, sadly, no longer exist. It is somewhat dated but for those who want to look back on what a northern seaside resort looked like with its throngs of holiday makers, piers, theatres and a great array of British film stars then this is the film to watch.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Entertainer, 17 May 2014
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This was a very poor print of a very good film. Pity. As a record of Olivier's performance alone it deserves better.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Entertainer, 24 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The Entertainer [DVD][1960] (DVD)
A classic adaptation from the novel, played faithfully by Laurence Olivier. His performance is excellent and has you sympathetic for a character who is far from perfect.
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Entertainer [DVD] [1960] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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