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The Smallest Show on Earth

  • Directed by Basil Dearden
  • United Kingdom, 1957, 80 mins., English

Matt (Bill Travers) and Jean (Virginia McKenna) are a young, newly married couple with their whole lives ahead of them. But when Matt’s uncle dies and leaves a decrepit cinema to him, the newlyweds are forced to postpone their dreams of world travel for a career in film exhibition. Along with the cinema come three employees: a doting bookkeeper (Margaret Rutherford), an alcoholic projectionist (Peter Sellers), and an elderly usher (Bernard Miles). All is going well-ish until a pushy competitor offers to buy the cinema, intent on leveling the building to create parking—but Matt, Jean, and their ragtag band of workers have other ideas. “A delightfully eccentric comedy . . . An Ealing-style allegory of English resolve.”—Time Out. Imported 35mm print.

Genres: Comedy

Other Films by Basil Dearden

All Night Long

All Night Long takes the tragic sweep of Othello and narrows it into a brilliant drawing room thriller set in the stylish swinging ’60s jazz scene of London. Wealthy jazz aficionado Rod Hamilton (Richard Attenborough) hosts a star-studded anniversary celebration for bandleader Aurelius Rex and his wife Delia, a recently retired singer. What starts out