Stage director Peter Brook chose John Gay’s 18th-century satirical operetta for his film debut (1952), giving Laurence Olivier one of his most appealing roles as the highwayman hero Macheath. Brook’s taste for modernist distancing is already evident in his theatrical staging and ironic underlining of cliche, but the film has an affectionate spirit that hasn’t, to say the least, survived his late career. With Stanley Holloway, Dorothy Tutin, and Hugh Griffith; the crisp Technicolor cinematography is by Guy Green.