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Half a Sixpence
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Half a Sixpence More at IMDbPro »

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Great movie, they don't make 'em like this anymore

Author: MonkeesBeatles4 from Brooklyn, New York
31 August 2003

I remember seeing this movie alot when I was little. They used to show on Tv here in NY in the late 60s and early 70s. I think the first time I first saw it was like in 67 or 68 I was like 5 or 6. The music is great most of the numbers are uplifting and Tommy Steel delivers them wondefully and so does the rest of the cast, especially the the ones with all the dancing like when they sing Money to Burn and Flash Bang Whallop. The one thing I didn't like about this movie was it had a great storyline that should of been developed stronger. The whole thing about the love between Artie and Ann and how it was almost destroyed because of new found wealth and the way it changed him and caused a rift between them and also between him and the boys he worked with could of been emphasized a little stronger. Other than that this movie is a gem, a wonderful, romping musical that you can watch with your whole family because theres's no excessive violence, sex or crude humor o

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

yes, worth more than a Zac

Author: ptb-8 from Australia
29 March 2005

Here is a funny BIG frilly musical that is also a good comedy. Imagine someone moaning that it is too big, or even dreary! What a silly thing to feel when there is many musical scenes and easy comedy with which to have a great time. HALF A SIXPENCE is a British hybrid of TWO WEEKS WITH LOVE and HELLO DOLLY and belongs in that cinematic hat box of visual candy delights. If my mixed metaphors make sense (to those who know grammar...and grammar jokes). There is lovely film is all respects. It is raucous and silly and loaded with enough art direction and 'whalloping' stereo musical numbers to please even (Darling) Lili or even Leslie Caron at champagne best. HALF A SIXPENCE is actually a Teen musical but set in Victorian England. The dance numbers are just plain great, and humorous MGM veteran musical director George Sidney has delivered yet again. The music and tunes are memorable and if you see this film with educated kids, they get it and the experience is is a genuine family delight. A 'zac' in Oz vernacular is a sixpence...and there is more value than that in this DVD box of musical chocolates. Just enjoy it. Like those films also mentioned above. It has to be better than seeing Adam Sandler urinating on a door in BIG DADDY, the s-bend of 'family' movies for this clever new century.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Dazzling British Musical

Author: mikwalen from New York
2 May 2002

I "accidentally" discovered HALF A SIXPENCE during 1979 on the late movie on NYC's Channel 5. I turned it on just before the "Half a Sixpence" number between Tommy Steele and Julia Foster. I didn't get to see it all, but years later it was shown on the Disney Channel. What a great movie! Great choreography (Gillian Lynne of CATS fame), charming actors playing the leads, and all that beautiful on-location photography in England! Tommy Steele sets the screen on fire when he lets loose in a dance number, and his star turn in the role of a simple lad who gets too rich too quickly and ends up miserable is believable and touching. Julia Foster is by turns sweet, vulnerable, AND feisty as his love interest, Ann.

The film (based on the London/Bdwy stage show and directed by movie-musical veteran George Sidney) has the look and feel of an old-fashioned MGM musical, which is probably why I loved it so. It seems to be more widely known in the UK - I believe it was more popular there than in the States at the time of its release, and perhaps it gets more TV airings in the UK? It's just too bad that it's not seen more often and appreciated as it deserves.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Magnificent Entertainment!

Author: ( from London, England
13 May 2001

A fabulous musical which I first saw at the age of 11 (back in 1967). In fact I saw this film at least 5 times back then. As a young lad I was also very struck by the appearance of Julia Foster, she was, my first heart throb! (along with Hayley Mills).

This film has great songs, great acting (if a little over the top by Mr Steele, great sets and locations, and great colour. It's very well directed to boot! A must see for all musical lovers and admirers of Miss Foster!

A uniquely English film. Terrific!

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Banging On The Big Bass Drum

Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
11 December 2008

Half A Sixpence is a musical adapted from the H.G. Wells story Kipps which Michael Redgrave played the title role back in a 1941 film version. I'm sure his interpretation of the role differed quite a bit from the boisterous styling of Tommy Steele in this film. They're so different in personality types.

It wasn't Wells the interpreter of the scientific future who wrote Kipps, but rather the Wells who was the Fabian Socialist. In a way this should be seen back to back with Pygmalion or My Fair Lady if you will. Some of the same themes were also done American style in The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

George Bernard Shaw when he wrote Pygmalion did the exact reverse of what Wells did in Kipps. That other noted Fabian Socialist took the flower girl Eliza and had her schooled in manners by the overbearing Henry Higgins to improve her station. Her economic status doesn't improve any, unless you figure she might marry well like the Freddy Eynsford-Hill character. She speaks well enough to fit in with his crowd.

But the exact opposite happens to Arthur Kipps. He's of illegitimate birth, apprenticed as a draper's assistant and living in the basement of his employer's store with other apprentices. But one fine day, Arthur's ship comes in, a grandfather leaves him an inheritance and a guaranteed annual income.

But unlike Audrey Hepburn, Tommy Steele is still at heart from the lower classes. So the story of Half A Sixpence is his personal struggle to find his place. That could be with a girl of his own class, Julia Foster or the previous unattainable Penelope Horner. Give you one guess where Steele winds up.

Half A Sixpence ran on Broadway for 511 performances in the 1965-66 season with Tommy Steele in the title role there. Steele's infectious style of performing is awfully hard to resist. Though he started out as a rock and roll singer, a British answer to Elvis Presley, Steele is really from the great tradition of Music Hall performers in the United Kingdom.

The socialist polemics are kept to a minimum here, I can't speak for how Wells originally wrote Kipps or how Michael Redgrave played it back in the day. But his points do come across and come across most entertainingly.

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Lively Tuneful Big Budget Musical

Author: dglink from Alexandria, VA
19 April 2004

"Half a Sixpence" was a product of the age of big budget musicals that began with the success of "The Sound of Music" and died when such clunkers as "Mame" and "Man of La Mancha" appeared. As such, the film both benefited and suffered. The benefits were a generous budget that is apparent on screen in the period costumes and sets, the lush photography of the English countryside, and the large cast. Just renting all the antique cars as background for one short scene must have cost a fortune. However, the film also suffered as it was lost in the glut of these big budget musicals, which were often mediocre, and its star, Tommy Steele, did not have the name or the charisma to carry it alone as the cast is largely unknown. The film also suffered from the obligatory over-length and intermission, which were required at the time in order to justify reserved seat engagements for these "event" films. The movie has been seldom seen, at least in the U.S., which is unfortunate because "Half a Sixpence" is a lively family film with a tuneful score, energetic choreography, and an engaging cast. Also, director George Sidney is a veteran of MGM musicals, and he knows how to stage a number. True, the story of how boorish, snotty, and unhappy the rich are, while the poor are fun loving, generous, and content with their lot, has been done to death (see "Titanic"). However, the film's assets lie where a musical's assets should be: in the songs, the dancing, and the performers. On those counts, the film is a winner.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A must for all Tommy Steele fans.

Author: rosebay from Felixstowe, England
26 August 2002

If you're a fan of Tommy Steele this is a must watch movie. It's Tommy at his best. If you're a fan of musicals then this has to be on your list. It's warm, funny and has a great feel-good factor. Watch it when you're feeling down, you're bound to feel better.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A quality musical based on an H G Welles story

Author: atangey from Ohio
2 July 2001

Not the kind of story one would think of when thinking H G Welles, but this rags to riches to rags love story is fascinating, well constructed and features one of England's preimere talents, Tommy Steele. The tale of the oprhan Kips who aquires an amazing inheritance and nearly throws away true love after tasting the luxury of high society. Fantastic score too, includes "If the Rains Going to Fall". Great fun.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

An energetic and charming musical!

Author: rothwellstudios from Newcastle upon Tyne, England
13 April 2000

Master showmen were at work in the production of this perhaps over long but nevertheless delightful picture. It would be impossible to visualise the film without the warm performance of Tommy Steele, and it was an inspired move to bring in George Sidney, one of Hollywood's finest directors of musicals, to give the picture a very special flare. The budget was obviously huge and it all shows on the screen in the very lively production numbers, especially those shot on location. A super piece of screen entertainment which stands up well to occasional re-watching.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

So Sad

Author: Jeff Sultanof from United States
21 January 2011

The movie musical had a brief resurgence in the late 1960s due to the success of "The Sound of Music." In that film, all the right elements were there: a major star, a good story and screenplay (in fact, the screenplay was a lot better than the book written for the Broadway production), a great score, and gorgeous photography. Of course it made a fortune, saved 20th Century-Fox from ruin, and the race was on. Musicals were back 'in.' The problem was, the production units that once existed that made these musicals had long since disbanded, and it seemed like production companies had to re-learn how to make them. Even seasoned hands didn't do all that well (although Gene Kelly's "Hello Dolly" is a better film than its reputation would indicate; Streisand was still miscast). Society and music had also changed, and the old-fashioned musical often came off as a museum piece - "Finian's Rainbow" should have been filmed years before; in 1969 it came off as a relic. (Footnote: when "Hair" was finally filmed, that also came off as a souvenir from the past; what a pity it was not made when the show closed on Broadway so that it could capture the real spirit of the times). Certainly there were exceptions - "Goodbye Mr. Chips" is far better than was realized at the time, and "Star" had the misfortune of coming off as a follow-up to "The Sound of Music," even though it's aspirations were far more modest.

And so we have this perfectly professional film version of a musical that was a big hit in the sixties, with the star a Tony nominee, directed by a veteran of old Hollywood. The star is talented and charming, Julia Foster more than holds her own, Cyril Ritchard is wonderful to have. Unfortunately once you see the movie, the reasons this film is relatively little known become clear: everything is very well done, the art direction excellent, in other words the money shows. But the score is not very good, the dancing is okay, and the end result, to these eyes, is a film that I really have no interest in seeing again.

I was fourteen when this film came out, and even though I liked Tommy Steele, I didn't 'need' to see this film the way I couldn't wait to see "Patton" and "2001." Now I know why. I was saddened when it was over because all that effort just added up to nothing for me.

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