Jacob Latimore, Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett star in director Kasi Lemmons' seasonal drama.
On Film4: 17 Dec 11:00AM
Cliff Richard and friends discover their youth club is to be demolished so put on a show to raise funds to save it. Teen 1960s musical also featuring Robert Morley, Melvin Hayes and The Shadows
The first and best of Sir Cliff's three 1960s musicals (Summer Holiday and the frankly incomprehensible Wonderful Life followed) captures England's answer to Elvis in full teen heartthrob mode. Part knockabout comedy, part affectionate send-up of the MGM musical epic, it's a sweetly cheerful affair, and these days a reminder of a time when pop music itself was young.
In a plot which feels strangely familiar, pop singer Nicky Black (Richard) and his mates discover their youth club is to be demolished to make way for a new office development. Who's responsible for spoiling their fun? None other than Nicky's own father (a splendidly crotchety Morley). So in order to raise money and save the club, Nicky, billed as The Mystery Singer, records a song and announces a special concert, all the while trying to keep the developer's identity from his friends.
Cliff himself is a competent actor and there's decent comic support from Carole Gray, Melvyn Hayes, Richard O'Sullivan and The Shadows themselves. Sidney J Furie (The Leather Boys, The Ipcress File) proves to be an inventive director and though the songs themselves (including a lengthy music hall-style sequence) tend towards the young Cliff's gentler side, tracks like 'We Say Yeah', and The Shadows performing 'The Savage', are surprisingly hard to resist.
Time may have added a kitsch veneer to this good-natured Cliff Richard vehicle, but it's still an enjoyable musical-comedy in its own right, executed with energy and panache.
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