"Life is a beastly mess," states the great Olivier in this bleak drama of moral stagnation. He's Archie Rice, a third-rate vaudevillian who, in garish makeup, delivers his creaky song and dance routines before increasingly scarce and indifferent audiences. Rice's home life is as shabby as
his stage career. Phoebe (De Banzie), his loyal wife, has been driven to alcoholism and fits of hysteria by her husband's selfishness and infidelities. His father, Billy (Livesey, the star of THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP), a once famous entertainer, is dying, yet Archie prevails upon him to
back just one more tawdry musical revue. Only Jean (Plowright), his protective daugh...