Enter Laughing (1967)

Enter Laughing (1967)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Enter Laughing Photos

Movie Info

Carl Reiner's semi-autobiographical novel Enter Laughing makes a largely successful transition to the screen. Reni Santoni plays the Reiner character, here named David Kolowitz. A machinist's apprentice in Depression-era New York, David dreams of becoming the new Ronald Colman. Defying the wishes of his parents (Shelley Winters, David Opatoshu), David lands a nonpaying job in a seedy theatrical production directed by broken-down ham Marlowe (Jose Ferrer). That the young aspiring actor knows nothing about his "craft" is evident the moment he speaks his first stage direction--"Enter Laughing"--as if it were a line of dialogue. Helped along by Marlowe's sex-starved daughter Angela (Elaine May), David manages to survive the rehearsal period, but his first public performance threatens to become a disaster when he can't find the entrance to the set. Still and all, David makes it through the play, cheered along by his now-supportive parents. Blessed with a marvelous supporting cast--including Jack Gilford, Don Rickles, Janet Margolin and veteran black comedian Mantan Moreland--Enter Laughing is a riot, especially for those viewers who have ever participated in amateur theatricals themselves. Only Reni Santoni fails to ring true as David Kolowitz (a role played on stage by Alan Arkin), though he has a few choice scenes, especially his impromptu performance on a subway. Watch for Rob Reiner in his film debut as a clumsy, self-conscious actor.
Comedy , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Columbia Pictures


Reni Santoni
as David Kolowitz
José Ferrer
as Mr. Marlowe
Shelley Winters
as Mrs. Kolowitz
Elaine May
as Angela
Jack Gilford
as Mr. Foreman
David Opatoshu
as Mr. Kolowitz
Don Rickles
as Harry Hamburger
Nancy Kovack
as Miss B.
Herbie Faye
as Mr. Schoenbaum
Rob Reiner
as Clark Baxter
Danny Stein
as Spencer Reynolds
Milton Frome
as Policeman
Lillian Adams
as Theatregoer
Mantan Moreland
as Subway rider
Peter Brocco
as Lawyer Peabody
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Enter Laughing

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (4)

Reiner has directed a film version that sticks closely to the words of the play but destroys much of its sly insight into the dawning of awareness in darkest Bronx.

Full Review… | July 28, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

An uneven film.

Full Review… | May 8, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

A low-pressure, quietly amusing story based on Carl Reiner's entry into show business.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Carl Reiner's 1967 debut film is, oddly, better made than any of his subsequent features.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Strident coming of age comedy based on Carl Reiner's semi-autobiographical novel.

Full Review… | October 20, 2013
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Enter Laughing made a star out of Alan Arkin on Broadway, but Santoni is hopeless in the lead, lacking both the charm and the wit to pull it off.

Full Review… | December 20, 2007
TV Guide

Audience Reviews for Enter Laughing


Reiner has directed a film version that sticks closely to the words of the play but destroys much of its sly insight into the dawning of awareness in darkest Bronx.

Greg Wood
Greg Wood

A book written by Carl Reiner was then turner into a play, Carl Reiner then adapted and directed that play into this movie. And the results are... Uninspired. Not without one or two good bits, but Enter Laughing really feels stage bound and suffers as a result. Sorry Carl I <3 U!

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

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