Tony Richardson's The Entertainer passed through a lot of distributors' hands, including The Samuel Goldwyn Company, before ending up in the possession of MGM/UA. It was out on laserdisc during the final years of that format's viability, and has been issued on DVD as part of MGM's low-priced "Vintage Classics" series. The transfer on this title is about as good as we're ever likely to see. Oswald Morris's black-and-white cinematography looks very good, with a vast amount of detail in every frame; the fabric in the mens' suits even shimmers a bit in the medium shots. The master materials have obviously been well preserved -- better, in fact, than those on Richardson's three-year newer (and much more famous) Tom Jones -- and this makes it very easy to appreciate the mobility of Richardson's camera, among other of the movie's attributes. When Richardson allows his best instincts as a filmmaker to overcome his obvious reverence for the play and the star, he gives us an engrossing and stimulating movie, with some splendid realistic sequences, particularly the exteriors of the seedy holiday resort and the backstage/on-stage interaction -- the final scene, in which Joan Plowright and Laurence Olivier are standing in darkness, only to have the curtain rise on the empty theater, is a visually stunning capper to the picture. Lsrge sections of the movie, alas, looks and feels like a filmed play, especially in the interior sequences beginning 15 minutes into the picture -- those scenes seem confining, unnatural and claustrophobic, and break up the movie's flow. It's a problem made worse by the quality of the disc, which brings out every subtle detail, and is strongly reminiscent of the difficulty that this reviewer discovered to be inherent in watching the restored version of John Ford's The Searchers -- the studio-filmed segments in that movie (which look and sound like they're taking place in Macy's window), when placed adjacent to the brilliant location shots, look incredibly false, and only work at all because of the actors' consistent performances; the problem in The Entertainer is worse because the acting and directing style change along with the look of the movie in those close, set-bound scenes derived directly from the play. On the positive side, the letterboxed image, at 1.66-to-1, frames the action perfectly, tightly concentrating the viewer's eye on the characters' interactions -- the proportions show just how precisely and carefully Richardson devised his shots throughout the movie. The disc opens automatically on a very simple multi-layer menu that offers 16 chapters, adequate for a 104 minute movie. There are French and Spanish subtitle options, but no trailer or other bonus materials.