TV Cream

Films: S is for...

Smallest Show on Earth, The

This high-hat Lion Films chamber piece is eighty minutes of Ealing-equalling brilliance, with Pe’er Se’ers’ masterfully sozzled Percy the projectionist upstaged only by Margaret Rutherford’s uber-baroque ticket lady. This time the authentically crumbling theatre is a mock-up, albeit a very good one that employs loads of genuine old Rank projection equipment. Francis De Wolff’s rival cinema is, of course, the Gaumont Palace, ie the Hammersmith Apollo as is. Brief turn-ups from Leslie Phillips as a half-arsed solicitor and ‘Sidney’ James as an usherette’s narky dad add more to the fun than Mrs and Mrs Born Free as the slightly drippy nouveau flea pit owners, but such is the abundance of good feeling in this bijou picture it’s impossible to dislike anyone for very long.

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