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Nicky and his friends find that their youth club is in danger of being flattened to make way for a new office block unless they can come up with £1500 to pay the new owner, the ruthless property tycoon Hamilton Black. To help raise the cash, Nicky records a song and his friends broadcast it via a pirate radio station, touting him as "The Mystery Singer" - the plan works and interest in their up and coming show is heightened by this new but unknown heart-throb. But Nicky has an even bigger secret and one that he cannot share, even with his girlfriend Toni... Hamilton Black is his father. Written by
Cliff Richard stars in The Young Ones, or Wonderful to be Young, from 1961, also starring Robert Morley, Carole Gray, and The Shadows.
This is a typical teenage movie with the "Hey, kids, let's put on a show" theme. The kids in this case are British, and their club is being closed due to the sale of the building for a high-rise. What no one knows is the developer, Hamilton Black (Robert Morley) is none other than the father of Nicky (Cliff Richard). Nicky, of course, works on behalf of his cronies but his back always goes out when they have to meet with the old man.
There's a renewal clause in the master lease, but Black is a good chess player - they can renew, but it's going to cost them 1500 pounds, a princely sum, up front. The kids decide to raise the money by putting on a show.
Like "Summer Holiday," "The Young Ones" is an exuberant, tuneful teen movie, with lots of singing and dancing. Richard doesn't force his acting - he says his lines in a natural manner, and his looks and charm do the rest. His early inspiration was Elvis, and some of his singing is definitely Elvis-like. But it's a different voice and persona -- he's a very smooth singer and his boyish handsomeness, unlike Elvis', is very nonthreatening. I can't imagine anyone breaking his records or coming out against him in a pulpit.
This is a very fun film. One can't help being impressed by Richard's longevity - 55 years later, he still looks great, he's still singing, and he's a Sir. He's almost Elvis-lite, a pop icon without the demons that caused us to lose Elvis all too soon.
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