Before making it big, Peter Sellers paid the bills by taking on smaller roles and bit parts in British films. Ever the creative artist, he always managed to deliver a standout, scene stealing performance, even in minor roles in which he is virtually unrecognizable. Such is the case in The Smallest Show on Earth (1957), in which Sellers plays a crazy, old, boozy movie projectionist.
A young couple receive word that the husband's great uncle has died and left them his estate. Eager to find out the enormity of their inheritance, they board the first train to meet with the lawyer handling the estate.
Much to their chagrin, they discover that the estate consists solely of an old, run down, dilapidated movie theater...
with the interior in disrepair as well, and needing just as much work as the facade...
They plan to sell the theater to the greedy owner of the nearby successful, Grand Theater, but the sly businessman gives them a low ball, insulting offer and they refuse. Still intent on selling the dump, they devise to bluff the greedy man into thinking that they have changed their minds and are going to renovate and re-open the old fleabag theater after all. They meet the kooky staff, comprised of three old fogies who have worked there since the Silent Era.
The place is in shambles and the equipment is substandard, to say the least.
They do their best to fix it up enough to re-open and start screening movies.
Much to their surprise, a moderate crowd does show up.
The couple must do a lot of the work themselves, including the wife being the ice cream girl. But she can't stand being fondled by the horny men.
They hire a sexy, buxom blond who has no such gripes about being violated and her sensuous allure draws even more people.
Will their efforts be enough to persuade the wealthy rival to make a higher bid to acquire the business? Or will the couple just have to make the most of their new entrepreneurial enterprise?
The Smallest Show on Earth- full feature film