Friday, November 2, 2012

The Entertainer

In the midst of the Suez crisis, a chintzy  failed stage actor (Laurence Olivier) refuses to acknowledge his state of affairs, while performing in front of empty houses, cheating on his drunken wife (Brenda de Banzie), and ripping off his sickly father (Roger Livesey) to finance his latest production, all the while pulling the wool over his doting daughter's (Joan Plowright) eyes. "The Entertainer" was one of Olivier's greatest successes, on both stage and screen, and he truly is a veritable force, playing an unscrupulous and intensely unlikable character. Director Tony Richardson successfully catches the dingy London locations and the nasty aura of the story, but the movie is turgid and much of its ongoings are indistinguishable. It is also interesting seeing actors Alan Bates and Albert Finney in early, supporting roles, both playing Olivier's sons.