Dinah is a model whose face appears in an ad campaign for meat. While shooting a TV commercial, she and Steve, one of the stunt men, run off together. The advertising executives use their ... See full summary »
Dinah is a model whose face appears in an ad campaign for meat. While shooting a TV commercial, she and Steve, one of the stunt men, run off together. The advertising executives use their disappearance to generate more publicity for... meat. Written by
George S. Davis
I'd heard a lot about this film before I ever had the chance to see it. I was predisposed to be dismissive.
However, when I finally DID see it, I was taken quite aback.
The director, John Boorman, is very negative about this film in his recent autobiography. I must disagree. There is a lazy school of thought that sees this movie as a straight rip-off of "A Hard Day's Night". Again, I dissent.
When I sat down to watch this film I expected something approximating to the stock descriptions: derivative, formulaic, just going through the motions.
I was quite unprepared for the reality of "Catch Us If You Can", which is a far more challenging and rule-breaking movie than its reputation would suggest. (I can only suppose that some people see what they expect to see.)
It surprised me that a vehicle for a pop band should be so downbeat and thought-provoking. Another IMDb reviewer rightly drew attention to the wintriness of this film.
There are two vital encounters in the film, once Steve (Dave Clark) and Dinah (Barbara Ferris) have fled from the TV commercial they are meant to be filming. The first is with a collection of hippie-esque drop-outs hiding out in rural ruins, the second with a middle-aged couple in a large townhouse in the affluent spa-town of Bath.
Their moves are monitored at a remove by a sinister advertising man, Leon Zissell, who seems to have a Svengali-like preoccupation with Dinah. To this end he dispatches two henchmen to pursue the errant couple. The elder of the two (not THAT old, as somebody remarks - probably in his mid-30s) is loyal, but at a fancy dress party in Bath his younger colleague readily succumbs to the charms of a pretty young lady.
I could try to encapsulate the plot of this film, but what matters far more is its atmosphere. Steve and Dinah are travelling (initially in a stolen E-Type Jag) towards an island off England's Devon coast that Dinah - young and successful - is contemplating buying. (This island conceit must be a straight lift from "La Dolce Vita", where the actress Marcello Mastroianni's character is "servicing", dreams of buying just such an island.)
The soundtrack is surpisingly strong. There are some straightforward songs from the Dave Clark Five, but otherwise they strive to provide something less stamped with the band style.
Like one of the other IMDb reviewers, I would have to agree, having seen this film, that it is actually stronger, viewed simply as a film, than "A Hard Day's Night". (Where it obviously falls down is the fact that its soundtrack - excellent as it actually is - is NOT by The Beatles.)
Don't patronise this movie, or damn it with faint praise. Don't condemn it for not being what it isn't (a Beatles film), but rejoice in the boldness of its departure from the Cliff-Beatles formula.
The scene in Bath with Robin Bailey and Yootha Joyce is worth the price of admission alone!
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