Film - Feature | September 28 | 5:30 p.m. | Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
Thats right, chaps, remember were British! Thats a running joke in this series, but it starts here. John Osbornes screen adaptation of his tragicomisatiric play unabashedly retains an aura of theater, set against the evocative backdrop of a seedy seaside town. Laurence Olivier portrays a never-was music-hall comedian and philanderer, Archie Rice; Joan Plowright and Alan Bates (his screen debut), Archies grown children; Brenda de Banzie, his pitiable wife; and Roger Livesey, Archies father, the Colonel Blimp of the music-hall stage. When Archie announces, Im dead behind the eyes, he puts a name to Oliviers extraordinary feat in a role critics consider one of his best. Albert Finneys first screen appearance lasts only minutes, but it is enough to make the absent brother Mick, off to fight the Suez War, a presence throughout, and his famous last wordsLife isnt as bad as all thatan anthem, as the music hall, the war, and England itself prove to be very like Archie Rice: bankrupt.