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Expresso Bongo (1959)

Johnny Jackson, a sleazy talent agent, discovers teenager Bert Rudge singing in a coffee house. Despite Bert's protestation that he really is only interested in playing bongos, Johnny ... See full summary »



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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. See more awards »
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Director: Sidney J. Furie
Stars: Cliff Richard, Robert Morley, Carole Gray


Complete credited cast:
Meier Tzelniker ...
Ambrosine Phillpotts ...
Gilbert Harding ...
Reginald Beckwith ...
Reverend Tobias Craven


Johnny Jackson, a sleazy talent agent, discovers teenager Bert Rudge singing in a coffee house. Despite Bert's protestation that he really is only interested in playing bongos, Johnny starts him on the road to stardom. The deal they cut, however, is highly exploitative of the young singer, and their relationship soon begins to go bad. Written by George S. Davis <mgeorges@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Laurence Harvey in an outstanding and different motion picture that takes you into a world of burlesque houses .. jazz dens ... and flesh-and-blood people! See more »


Drama | Music


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Release Date:

11 December 1959 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A Singing Idol  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Marty Wilde was first considered for the role of Bert Rudge but was dismissed when it was believed his height (6ft 3ins) would make his character less sympathetic. See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown on a neon sign outside a theatre, a jukebox, a pinball machine, a barrel organ, a restaurant menu, a pin-board, ending with a sandwich-board man. See more »


References Seven Wonders of the World (1956) See more »


I've Never Had It So Good
Music by David Heneker (as David Henneker) and Monty Norman
Lyrics by Julian More and Wolf Mankowitz
From original stage show
See more »

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User Reviews

An interesting time capsule
31 March 2007 | by (Los Angeles, California) – See all my reviews

This is kind of an annoying low-budget film, but at least I, an American, got to see what the fuss used to be about the UK singer Cliff Richard, whom I had never seen before. I also have never seen Lawrence Harvey in a semi-comedic role. He seemed as if he were on speed, or coke; very annoying. I kept yelling, "Give the guy a Valium!" And his accent drifted from plummy English to South African to European Yiddish, and back again. Most disconcerting.

But watch the film for future celebs! There's Hermione Baddley (who was on "Maude"), playing a street-walking prostitute (!), there's Burt Kouwk (who played Cato in all those Pink Panther movies), playing a dissolute Soho youth, and Susan Hampshire ("Upstairs, Downstairs," and various TV movies).

The film's depiction of Soho reminded me of old American films' depictions of 42nd St. in N.Y. Really cheesy.

And apparently there wasn't too much censorship of British films then, because we see in this film lots of true female nudity (the strippers in the film). Man, I haven't seen breasts like those in ages! (All natural, all non-augmented.) See this as an interesting historical time capsule.

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