Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Entertainer


Tony Richardson was one of the hot young British directors in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. He made one of my all-time favorite movies, Tom Jones, among many others. This is from a play by John Osborne and stars the great Lord Olivier as Archie Rice, who is usually described as an aging vaudevillian at the tail end of the age of vaudeville, but to my mind the traditional British music hall is quite a bit different than American vaudeville, and quite alien to us Yanks. That’s not really important, but I thought I’d mention it. Olivier is stunning here, as he usually is, but at least part of the attraction is seeing him step out of his usual gravitas to play a rubber-legged, smirking, heavily made-up song and dance man who is only really alive on the stage. He is very good at it; who knew? The film is also noteworthy for first movie roles for Alan Bates and Albert Finney, and a very early role for Joan Plowright, who Olivier married a year later, his third marriage, and one that lasted until his death.