The Entertainer

The Entertainer

NR

1960

97 minutes

Laurence Olivier delivers one of his magnificent career's most iconic performances—and a true masterclass in the art of screen acting—as Archie Rice, the clapped-out music-hall star at the pitch-dark heart of Tony Richardson's British classic The Entertainer. Adapting his own play, John Osborne savagely captures a mid-50s United Kingdom convulsed by the Suez crisis unfolding thousands of miles away, which would eventually topple a government and bring the age of Empire to an inglorious end. These weighty political themes provide a vivid, haunting backdrop for a piercing study of self-obsession and self-delusion as Rice tries desperately to get his fading career back on track in a fading coastal town, terrified by the prospect of impending financial ruin. First among equals in a crackerjack ensemble cast that includes very early appearances by Alan Bates, Albert Finney and Joan Plowright, Olivier—who created the role on stage—burrows into the diseased marrow of Rice's tawdry soul in fearless, ferocious style that still startles, half a century later.

Comments