The Entertainer

The Entertainer ★★★★½

Wait, this isn’t about a frustrated young worker who doesn’t know how to fight against oppressive class structure. Confusing.

Olivier is of course the beating heart of this movie, nerves exposed to the salt air of Blackpool at every turn. You never like his Archie Rice, although he makes sure you understand him. Everyone in the family helps. It wouldn’t be such a good portrait of British decay if Archie wasn’t framed by Billy and Frank, one with all the talent he needs and one substituting cynicism for the talent he doesn’t have.

Poor Frank: he idolizes his father to the point where he’s toxically shaped by him. And that’s a mirror too, because Archie idolizes Billy so much that he won’t ever give up success on the stage. Any other field would represent disappointment, or so Archie thinks.

Meanwhile Jean is finding idealism amid the Suez Crisis. Doesn’t do her much good amid her family, though.

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