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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
A bad musical is a British musical, but at least we get Cliff and the Shads
Years before Sidney J. Furie went on to direct bone fide screen epics such as the fantastic Ipcress File or the not so epic Iron Eagle movies, He directed Cliff Richard in a couple of his manufactured movie musicals simply designed to cash in on both Cliff's youthful good looks and his raw Rock n' Roll talent.
Back in 1961 Cliff's clout with the record buying public was at it's peak. The Beatles were still a year or so away, and Cliff was our home grown British Rocker. (despite being born in Lucknow, India).
Like Elvis, The movies saw potential in Cliff's box office appeal and immediately put him in the movies. The films didn't really have to be good or entertaining even, the fact that it starred Cliff Richard was enough to but the bums on the seats.
His first two movies (Serious Charge and Expresso Bongo Both 1959), had done well, but neither really gave Cliff the starring vehicle his Godlike status with the teenagers required. However, all this was to change with The Young Ones. For the first time movie audiences were able to see him in both Technicolor and Cinemascope.
Cliff plays Nicky Black a member of a local London youth club under threat of closure from a ruthless property developer, Hamilton Black (Robert Morley). Nicky and his friends become determined to stop this closure by any means necessary. This task is not made easy for Nicky as the aforementioned property developer is actually his own father.
In order to raise £1500, (a HUGE amount of money then), to buy an extension of the lease to keep their club open, Nicky & Co decide to take a leaf out of Mickey Rooney's book, and PUT ON A SHOW. However, Hamilton Black is just as determined, and manages to scupper their plans as soon as they make them.
The youth club gang then decide that they will use pirate radio broadcasts, in order to let their audience know when and where their show will take place so Hamilton Black cannot put yet another fly in yet another tub of ointment.
The Shadows, appear here too, and over the previous two years, they had already emerged from being simply Cliff's backing band and become (and remain to this day), Britian's most successful instrumental band. Because of this, It's a shame that none of the Shadows actually get a speaking part in this movie, but are always on hand whenever a song needs to be performed. They do get their own shining hour though, when they perform their hit "The Savage".
Carole Gray woodenly plays Cliff's love interest, yet her singing voice was dubbed by the ultra-talented Grazina Frame. Why did the producers go to all that trouble? Why did they not just cast Grazina straight from day one? In fact, when you compare Carole Gray and Grazina Frame, Grazina was not only the better singer but their better looking of the two.
Robert Morley is quite amusing in his role, as are Melvyn Hayes, Richard O'Sullivan and Teddy Green in theirs, but it's Cliff & The Shadows that actually make this movie even remotely watchable.
The reason being, is that the film, when viewed as a complete film, is pretty crap, but that is a failing of ALL British musicals dating back to Jessie Matthews time. With each generation since the 1930's, we Brits have tried to make a decent movie musical and have fallen flat on our faces every single time. (Did you ever see Spiceworld?). Our inability to make a decent musical might have something to do with those awful big 'Production Numbers' like the ones displayed in this movie.
The Young Ones is a harmless way of spending a couple of hours, as there is nothing hear to shock or offend anyone, after all this is Cliff Richard we're talking about.
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