Adapted from a stage play by John Osborne and directed by Tony Richardson, The Entertainer is a brilliantly caustic portrait of ageing music-hall veteran Archie Rice. Laurence Olivier delivers one of his finest screen performances, with his portrayal of a man coming undone at the seams and revealing the emptiness inside.
Set against the tumultuous backdrop of the Suez crisis, the identity of post-war Britain is transposed to the theatre stage, as a fatigued generation makes way for an energised youth, embodied by a supporting cast on the cusp of stardom – including Alan Bates, Joan Plowright and Albert Finney. The film went on to garner Olivier yet another Oscar nomination.
• George Devine Memorial Play: The Entertainer – Sequence One (1966, 6 mins) • George Devine Memorial Play: The Entertainer – Sequence Two (1966, 5 mins) • O Dreamland (1953, 13 mins): one of the most personal of the Free Cinema films from director Lindsay Anderson (If.…, This Sporting Life) • 7 short films by Mitchell & Kenyon (13 mins, 1900-1901): glimpses of life in the seaside town of Morecombe at the beginning of the twentieth century • Morecombe Carnival (1 min, 1929): Topical Budget film providing a gorgeous glimpse of the mirth and merriment of Morecombe Carnival, 1920s style • Lancashire Coast (1957, 15 mins): a film exploring the many contrasting attractions of the Lancashire coast • Stills gallery • Fully illustrated booklet with essays by Steven Hess and Vic Pratt and full film credits