2 December 2016 | trimmerb1234
For '50's fans this is the real espresso
As this pretty good (especially for Butchers) film well and entertainingly illustrates, in 1958, Britain's popular youth music scene was changing at a pace like never before or since. For a short period many completely different musical styles coexisted and nearly all are included here. Just 3 years earlier, skiffle - that odd American folk music played on home-made instruments - had hit a peak with 30 to 50,000 skiffle groups in the UK. Mick Jagger started in one, the Beatles was formed from John Lennon's skiffle group. The ground-breaking transatlantic film import of 1956, "Rock Around the Clock", had been a bombshell and was to change teen music - and teen culture - for ever. Traditional jazz was also popular at this time. But as this film opens, a "crooner" of the time, Denis Lotis - a British Frank Sinatra - is shown with an audience of dreamy teen girl fans who then follow him out, screaming, as he gets into his car and leaves. Terry Dene, seen here at times very reminiscent of Cliff Richard, had 3 top 20 hits between 1957 and 1958. Cliff Richard had his first hit in 1959. 50 years on Dene is also still performing.
Anyone who has seen the TV dramatisation of the life of record producer Joe Meek as well as various documentaries on the small US record labels which later became giant names will recognise that they had humble origins - family members employed, bedroom recording studios. The film is the fictional story of the start of such a small enterprise. As part of the story the film also covers another youth phenomenon of the time - the coffee-bar. Former cafes transformed by installation of an Italian espresso coffee machine and a juke box becoming the place for young people to hang out and amateurs to first strut their stuff. (The 2i's coffee bar in Soho provided a start to some of the country's later big names) It's an amusing section in the film where an expressionless elderly customer of the original shabby cafe continues despite the transformation - authentic '50s decor (once again fashionable) around him. In 1960 the film "Expresso Bongo" made Cliff Richard a star.
Finally the film deals with the experience of amateurs in their business dealings with large established companies - a real life frequent source of grief.
All the performers appearing were clearly quite good. One singer with notable talent I see was Nancy Whiskey who had a big skiffle hit with "Freight Train in the 1950s. The film compares well with some of the similar US films made at the time as vehicles for singing talent. It's well written and well put together - a historic record of the early days of modern popular music when things were changing fast - everything had changed within about 3 years and 60 years later rock and roll is still very much with us.
A 6.5 score. Seen with thanks to Talking Pictures TV and to Wikipedia for the information