Watch The Smallest Show On Earth
- 1 hr 20 min
The Smallest Show On Earth is a charming and lighthearted comedy film from 1957 that centers around a young couple who inherit a run-down movie theater in a small English town. The film was directed by Basil Dearden and produced by Michael Relph, two of the most prominent figures in British cinema during the 1950s and 60s. The story begins when Matt and Jean Spencer (played by real-life couple Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna) receive news that they have inherited the Bijou Cinema, a dilapidated picture palace located in the fictional town of Sloughborough. When they arrive to take possession of the theater, they find that it is in a state of disrepair, with torn upholstery, broken seats, and a projector that frequently breaks down.
To make matters worse, they soon discover that the Bijou is in direct competition with two larger and more modern movie theaters in the townâthe Grand and the Plazaâboth of which are owned by the wealthy and ruthless Sam Wilkins (played with gusto by Francis De Wolff). Wilkins will stop at nothing to put the Bijou out of business, including sabotaging their equipment, poaching their staff, and tampering with their film orders.
Despite these obstacles, Matt and Jean are determined to make a success of the Bijou, and they enlist the help of the theater's eccentric staffâMiss Fazackalee (Margaret Rutherford), the aging and slightly deaf cashier; Percy Quill (Peter Sellers), the bumbling projectionist; and Old Tom (Bernard Miles), the grumpy and hard-of-hearing doormanâwho have all worked at the Bijou for decades and are fiercely loyal to it.
Together, they come up with a plan to turn the Bijou around and give it a new lease on life. They clean up the theater, repair the equipment, and offer a range of creative promotions to attract customers, including a free show for the local schoolchildren, a charity fundraiser, and a special screening of a classic silent film. Along the way, they have to contend with various setbacks and challenges, including a power outage, a fire, and the reappearance of a long-forgotten relative who claims ownership of the Bijou.
The Smallest Show On Earth is a delightful and nostalgic tribute to the golden age of cinema, when movie theaters were palaces of dreams and entertainment for audiences of all ages. The film evokes a sense of nostalgia for a bygone era, with its depictions of the ornate decor, the flickering images on the screen, and the sense of community that existed around the cinema experience.
The film also benefits from a strong ensemble cast, led by Travers and McKenna, who have a warm and charming chemistry as the idealistic young couple. Margaret Rutherford steals every scene she is in as the eccentric Miss Fazackalee, while Peter Sellers delivers a hilarious performance as the hapless projectionist Percy Quill. The film is also notable for a cameo appearance by a young and pre-fame Leslie Phillips, who plays a suave and dapper usher at the Plaza.
The Smallest Show On Earth is a heartwarming and thoroughly enjoyable film that will appeal to anyone who loves movies and nostalgia. Its themes of resilience, ingenuity, and community spirit are timeless, and the film's gentle humor and affectionate portrayal of a simpler time make it a perfect antidote to the stresses and anxieties of modern life.
The Smallest Show On Earth is a 1962 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 20 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.0.