"The Entertainer" Is Released

The Entertainer is a 1960 film adaptation of the stage play of the same name by John Osborne, which told the story of a failing third-rate music hall stage performer who tried to keep his career going even as his personal life fell apart.

The story is set against the backdrop of the dying music hall tradition, and this has usually been seen as symbolic of Britain's general post-war decline, its loss of its Empire, its power, and its cultural confidence and identity.

The film was adapted by Nigel Kneale and John Osborne from Osborne's play, and was directed by Tony Richardson. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Laurence Olivier). It was filmed on location in the Lancashire seaside town of Morecambe.

Laurence Olivier recreates his stage role of Archie Rice in this in-your-face film adaptation of John Osborne's play. The son of a legendary music hall comedian (Roger Livesey), Archie is strictly a third-rater, headlining a tacky music hall revue in a seedy seaside resort town. Archie can't admit that he's a failure, and his grim insouciance destroys everyone around him. Archie finagles his dying father into financing one last revue; he cheats shamelessly on his alcoholic wife (Brenda De Banzie); and he all but forces one of his sons (Albert Finney) to run off to join the army, only to die in the Suez. Through all his personal crises, Archie jigs and jabbers before his ever-diminishing audience, but by the end of the film he isn't even entertaining himself. Joan Plowright, who married Olivier shortly after completing The Entertainer, plays the film's one sympathetic character: Archie's daughter, whose love for her father blinds her to his flaws. The Entertainer was remade for television in 1976, with Jack Lemmon as Archie Rice and original songs by Marvin Hamlisch. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide