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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
The Entertainer (1960)

The Entertainer (1960)

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Released 15-Dec-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1960
Running Time 99:25 (Case: 104)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Tony Richardson

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Laurence Olivier
Brenda de Banzie
Roger Livesey
Joan Plowright
Alan Bates
Daniel Massey
Albert Finney
Shirley Anne Field
Thora Hird
Miriam Karlin
Geoffrey Toone
MacDonald Hobley
Anthony Oliver
Case ?
RPI $9.95 Music John Addison
Ronald Cass

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    In 1957 playwright John Osborne burst onto the English drama scene and theatre in Britain was never the same again. The play Look Back in Anger had (and still has) its critics but all agree that it marked the changing of the guard from the old playwrights to the new generation. Quickly dubbed the Angry Young Men, their plays filled the stage with an unrestrained bitterness at the state of post-war England.

    The sense of anger and despair spilled over into Osborne’s next play, The Entertainer. It used the death of the British music hall tradition as the background for a study of the decline and fall of the British Empire. The play never sought to identify the causes of Britain’s woes, rather it simply set them up for all to see.

    The Entertainer was written in 1957. Laurence Olivier had seen Look Back in Anger and wanted a part in The Entertainer. He played the lead role of Archie Rice on stage, transforming the risky production into a huge success. He then took on the lead in the film of The Entertainer in 1960. In doing so he earned an Oscar nomination for his performance.

    Archie Rice is an entertainer in decline. Television is the new form of popular entertainment and the seaside vaudeville show Archie presents is no longer the rage. His humour is mostly shabby and unfunny. He longs to present a show at the new Winter Garden but cannot secure a booking without money up front. But Archie is broke. Dead broke. He has taken money from everyone he knows and as an undischarged bankrupt he cannot even write his own cheques.

    He lives with his sad second wife Phoebe (Brenda de Banzie) who drinks to ignore his indiscretions. His father, who was once a respected performer in his own right, also lives in the household. Two events occur to trigger the story. Firstly, Archie’s daughter (Joan Plowright, the future Mrs Olivier in her first role) arrives in town to work with troubled youths. Secondly, Archie’s son Mick goes off to fight in the Suez conflict and is taken prisoner.

    The lengths to which Archie will stoop and probably has always stooped to keep the show going make The Entertainer a hard film to watch. The despair and anger fills each frame and the viewer is dragged into the depressing world of the seedy music hall with half-empty houses contrasting with carefree music hall tunes.

    Olivier is a revelation. Freed from his Shakespearian shackles he inhabits Archie with such force that he makes this film almost a tragedy of a repellent man. Director Tony Richardson, who had earlier brought Look Back in Anger to the screen with Richard Burton, directs with solemn purpose and John Osborne worked with Anger screenwriter Nigel Kneale to open up and dramatise Osborne’s play.

    Although it can’t be called light entertainment, The Entertainer has some powerful meltdown scenes particularly from Olivier but also from Brenda de Banzie as his long-suffering wife.

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Transfer Quality


    The Entertainer was originally filmed on 35 mm stock in an aspect ratio of 1.66:1. It is presented on this DVD as a non 16x9 enhanced 1.66:1 letterboxed image.

    The film was shot in black and white and the cinematography is quite impressive. Blacks are deep and shadows relatively clear. There is very little grain in the image.

    I must stress that no effort has been made to restore or improve the image quality of the source print for the transfer. There is a constant assault of film artefacts throughout the film including spots, streaks, scratches and many other flaws. Whilst this is disappointing the reality is that the film has such a limited appeal that I can understand why the studio would not have felt it worthwhile to digitally clean up the print.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired which are easy to read but do tend to miss out sections of dialogue throughout to keep up with the fast flow of words. There are also subtitles in Dutch, Swedish and Finnish.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The Entertainer is presented with Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kbs) audio. There is no surround activity and the subwoofer lies dormant. Audio sync was generally good although I noticed that it tended to waver slightly in some of the outdoor scenes.

    Despite its age the sound is reasonably clear and dialogue can be heard in most scenes. In crowd scenes or outdoors it becomes a little muddy. Again this is a problem of the original soundtrack and reflects the sound recording techniques of the time. Most importantly the dialogue is clear in the big scenes of The Entertainer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The Entertainer does not contain any extras.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 and Region 4 versions of this DVD are essentially identical.


    A DVD for stage and drama enthusiasts and fans of Laurence Olivier, The Entertainer is an important work of post-war British drama brought to life in this budget release. It is a sad fact of life that the transfer is not better for both sound and vision but the target audience for this DVD will probably say, like Archie Rice, "why should I care?"

Ratings (out of 5)


© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Monday, May 08, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo DV-SP300, using Component output
DisplayNEC PlasmaSync 42" MP4 1024 x 768. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJBL Simply Cinema SCS178 5.1

Other Reviews NONE