|Product Name||Big Time Operators|
|Category||Electronics / Photography: A/V Media: Movie|
|Amazon.com||Buy on Amazon ~ B000067NQV|
|Price Used||14.99 US Dollars (curriencies)|
|Cast||Virginia McKenna, Bill Travers, Margaret Rutherford, Peter Sellers, Bernard Miles|
|Run Time||80 minutes|
|Long Description||An amiable knockoff of the Ealing comedy style, The Smallest Show on Earth (1957) starts with aspiring novelist Bill Travers and his ''nice gel'' wife Virginia McKenna inheriting a cinema from a hitherto unknown uncle and discovering that it isn't the sumptuous modern Grand, which specializes in those ''smash 'em in the face, knock 'em over the waterfront'' pictures, but the decrepit Bijou, known locally as ''the fleapit.'' The initial plan, set up by lawyer Leslie Phillips, is to sell off the cinema to the owner of the Grand so he can knock it down to make a car park, but our heroes are put off by the arrogant bullying of the rival manager (Francis De Wolff) and succumb to the inept charms of the crazed, aged staff--drunken projectionist Peter Sellers, doddering commissionaire Bernard Miles, and dotty ticket lady Margaret Rutherford (who joined the team as a piano accompanist).|
In the 1950s there was a run of gentle British comedies in which outmoded and broken-down local institutions (steam trains, tugboats, vintage cars) were saved by collections of committed eccentrics who despised the new-fangled bus services or soulless council bureaucracies and were willing to resort to a little larceny (in this case, arson). The Smallest Show slots in perfectly with the cycle, getting laughs from the Bijou's already outmoded program of scratchy Westerns and desert dramas (which increase ice cream sales) and sentiment over the staff's midnight screenings of silent movies that remind them of better days. It's likeable rather than hilarious, with Sellers and Miles buried under crepe hair and fake wrinkles competing to out-dodder each other and losing the picture to the inimitable Rutherford, who doesn't have to fake her eccentricity. Pinup June Cunningham is the glamorous usherette and Sid James plays her annoyed dad. --Kim Newman
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