The Entertainer

The Entertainer (Tony Richardson, 1960)

In My Week with Marilyn (Simon Curtis, 2011) Laurence Olivier says that the next thing that he is going to do is to be in a play that John Osborne is writing for him, at the Royal Court. This was, of course, The Entertainer, which later became a film directed by Tony Richardson. So I thought that would be logically the next film for me to watch, as I'd never seen it on release.

Olivier allegedly said that he was 'Archie Rice, not Hamlet'. And it is fascinating that in the film he plays a man who is not only the singer-dancer-stand-up-comedian lead of the show but also the manager and director of the enterprise—as he was the director of the film The Prince and the Showgirl (1957, wr. Terence Rattigan)—as represented in Curtis's film. Also, we more or less see him propose marriage to Joan Plowright in the film, before our astonished eyes: he did actually marry her in 1961 (tho she was 22 years younger, as he points out in that scene).

It's no surprise that I didn't enjoy Angry Osborne's view of the death of the music-hall. I think I'll like the film more when I see it a second time, and I can look beyond the depressing story and look it in more filmic terms. It's not entertaining.

Garry Gillard | New: 27 February, 2017 | Now: 27 March, 2017