Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter (1968) Poster

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What you lose on the swings, you gain on the roundabouts
gavcrimson3 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Loosely based on Herman's Hermits 1965 US hit, this movie version came out three years later at the 'tail end' of their popularity, which seems appropriate given the film is about dog racing. A premise every bit as daft as the original song, a prime example of the kind of British invasion hit considered one of those cute little British songs in America and regarded as less than credible in its home country. Set among a cartoon view of swinging London and not so swinging Manchester, the film offers much to those who derive pleasure from seeing a somewhat upside down vision of 60's Britain or secretly wish there was such a place as this. It's a film full of stock shots of the changing of the guard, barrow boy musical numbers, where there always seems to be some kind of London landmark in the background and where everyone says "best of British luck".

Peter No one plays Herman, a proud Northerner "remember you're not Britain, you're Manchester", who having failed to get a job in advertising gathers a few of his mates together (the rest of the Herman's Hermits with their character names the same as their own) and tries his chances in the world of dog racing having just inherited a greyhound called Mrs. Brown. Oh and as we all need something to fall back on, Herman and the boys also form a pop band to fund their way to London and its race tracks. Their first gig is an inglorious affair, playing backing group to an old codger singing "my old man's a dustman" in a Manchester pub, which ends up the boys being short changed and a mass punch up in the pub (look out for an uncredited Rita Webb encouraging the men to smash each others faces in). Still they manage to find enough money to go to London leaving behind Herman's Gran and Tulip (an ultra-sweet Sheila White) the girl next door who is secretly in love with Herman. Down South things don't go as planned, they get turned away from a B&B when the owner takes offence to renting a room to a few lads and a 'Mrs. Brown' (clearly thinking the dog is a woman of easy virtue) and bamboozled into renting another room only to quickly realize via alarm bells and men sliding down a pole that they're in a fire station! They have more success with Mrs. Brown on the racetrack, though if you've only seen the pan and scan version of the film-which manages to crop both dog and hare off screen-you have to take the Hermits' word for it. Its at the race track where the group meet another Mrs. Brown (Mona Washbourne) who has a lovely daughter, namely Judy a fashion model who introduces Herman's Hermits to the swinging London scene. "London is for the birds" claimed the film's poster "and the loveliest of birds are flocking to Herman and his Hermits" well not quite, in fact the only character who appears to be getting any is Mrs. Brown. Not the Mona Washbourne character you understand, but the dog, who ends up giving birth to a puppy at which point Herman sings…well surely you can guess what.

The worlds first and only pop musical/dog racing crossover,it was a brave soul who pitched this idea to producer Allen Klein (yes, the Allen Klein). It's a cinematic peculiarity in many ways and one that largely eschews any expected dramatic incident. The band never becomes famous and romance wise its boy meets fashion model, boy loses fashion model but ends up with a puppy-as Herman comments "what you lose on the swings, you gain on the roundabouts". There is also a tendency for older members of the cast to steal the spotlight from the pop star leads with standout performances from Stanley Holloway and Lance Percival. Holloway as barrow boy turned self-made-millionaire Mr. George George Brown ("it was my dad's fault he stuttered") and Percival as Sir Percy the tramp with the demeanor of an aristocrat. Playing a role that's Part Dr Who, Part proto-bohemian drop out, Percival achieves the kind of on-screen coolness that leaves the films swinging London set looking like vacant bores. While Percival doesn't get to sing (though he does manage to play the spoons) Holloway joins the boys to belt out 'Lemon and Lime' an ode to barrow boys ("press down the scale and you'll go to jail") and the rest of the elderly cast members for the very touching 'The World is for the Young' in which Holloway reflects on "the passing of an age and all the people that I met". Two songs Graham Gouldman -later of 10cc- has probably forgotten writing. Of the Herman's Hermits only No one and the late Derek Leckenby really register as characters, hardly the most hippest of band to name check their wholesome image must have seemed out of step back then and now seems a virtual parody. Their sole stab at on screen greatness-a psychedelic jam at a club-is worthy of being inter-cut with a bad drug trip sequence but this being a Herman Hermits film is actually inter-cut with Herman searching for his missing dog. Oh well what you lose on the swings, and all that.

Trying to convince people Mrs. Brown You've got a Lovely Daughter is the best British film ever made is likely to be drowned out by laughter, but to give the film its due it's a fun filled, strangely charming guilty pleasure. Who can really resist the spectacle of Herman's Hermits film in which the musical highlight is performed by Stanley Holloway and Mona Washbourne and the script's suggestion that the band only drifted into music to fund dog racing gives pause for thought whether the Hermits' contemporaries had similar career sidelines up their sleeves. Were the Rolling Stones closet jockeys? did The Kinks ever breed pigeons? and what about The Animals? You never know.
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A cute story when you look at it through the eyes of time.
photoweborama9 January 2002
I have always loved Herman's Hermits, and I really liked this movie. I don't suppose that I would have liked it when it first came out because it would have been bunched in with all of the other `rock' musicals of it's time, trying to compete for the `young' in-crowd. Nevertheless, as I look at it now, I see it as a charming film from another era.

The plot itself is very interesting and different. It is not your typical `garage band goes to the big city and gets discovered' type of film. They are looking for fame and fortune by way of the champion Greyhound, Mrs. Brown. The rock band thing was just a side interest in this film, much different from other rock musicals of its time. Other `rock' star films of that era were used merely as a publicity showcase for the band to play their music. This film actually had a decent story with some music in it.

The cinematography was fabulous in this film. If for anything at all, you should watch it for this aspect alone. I enjoyed the whole film, but the ending was a bit vague. I was able to figure it out after a while, but it jumped from scene to scene without smooth transitions of ideas.
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Fantastic movie for any Herman's Hermits fans!
peanutssgetsmartfan6 September 2012
I'm a big fan of this movie, but that's only to be expected, as I am also a big fan of Herman's Hermits. (Their faces adorn a whole wall in my room...what can I say.) I found this movie to be both entertaining and visually appealing, showing Manchester and the more hoppin' London of the time. I'm very familiar with each one of the Hermits (Herm, Lek, Keith, Barry, and Karl), and for those who also know of each one and their personalities, it's great seeing the lads and hearing their banter. Peter, especially, shines and does a quality job in the main role. (Not surprising, considering he had been an actor prior to Herman's Hermits.) In the movie, the boys buy shares in a racing greyhound, but must form a band to make money to race her. The story follows Herm and the lads as they travel from Manchester to London, meeting new people and trying to achieve musician status. I've seen all the Beatles movies, and in comparison, found this plot to be more riveting. Of course, I could've watched the movie with the sound off, and just enjoyed fangirling over how cute the boys were. I must mention that my mother is a baby-boomer and found the movie to be dull and lifeless. Though I'm 16, the Hermits are my favorite band and I love their music and each member (I'm a sucker for happy bubble-gum pop and adorable Mancunians.)I would recommend this movie highly to any fan.
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Late night fun - if you are interested in period detail and backwater pop history.
Pedro_H19 November 2006
Five lads from the back streets of Manchester come to London to race a dog (Mrs Brown of the title) and earn a few quid playing music on the side. Note the order and stress.

Time plays games with film. What is seen as throwaway and nothing at the time can start to have some historical value and - naturally - what was seen as having deep meaning can become meaningless to a new audience. This production has its values - to me - in showing London when I first went there and comparing it to now. Indeed it is worth viewing for that alone.

(A lot of the background has been sandblasted since the time of this film and the docks are now mostly flats and offices.)

Those not interested in period detail and third-rate pop history/acts are going to feel their fingers on the remote control very quickly.

To save time and money let us take a list approach.

1. The main players are musicians and they have no acting ability. Indeed Peter "Herman" N-O-O-N-E (which IMDb corrects to call No One!) makes Cliff Richard or David Bowie look like Oscar winners. Seems nice, but dim, with so many teeth his mouth won't close. He has got them fixed now as a Youtube/Google search will demo. Kept his hair as well - lucky sod!

2. If you can't spot Elstree Studios (pretending to be a country pad) then you haven't watched enough Brit film. Boy am I sick of this white building. I feel like I have lived half my life there.

3. The script was knocked together on-the-quick after the title song was a surprise No.1 US hit by Metro Goldwin Meyer - as part of the trend (at that time) to try and spread Hollywood to Europe. Didn't work, nor did director Saul Swimmer from this point on.

4. Manchester is shown as being prehistoric in nature and at least ten years out of date. People had updated and improved by then. We didn't wash in the front sink anymore!

5. Unlike every other "do you lads want to be rich and famous?" the band seem little interested in music or fame. Indeed they seem little interested in girls either. When an early stoner tries to tag along they give her the elbow in no uncertain terms. Free love hadn't got past Watford in this film.

6. N-O-O-N-E misses the big gig at the hip night-club because he is out looking for a dog. Is he bothered by this? Not really - but maybe the director couldn't get emotion out of him?

7. While the group (or N-O-O-N-E and whoever!) still play today - they were going out of date already. They are squeaky clean mods about to hit the hippie scene. The party clothes were actually very accurate for the time: Couldn't be tight enough - couldn't be bright enough!

8. There is really no plot beyond the maguffin of the dog, who doesn't do much more than pant and look bored (she is not alone!) I thought she should at least get to chase a few sticks. The racing plot seems to fizzle out out to nothing.

9. Bit part actors like Stanley Holloway steal the show, although he is an old-time knees up man.

10. Unlike any other pop film this isn't a journey to anywhere or anything. Nothing has changed for the boys. Have they learnt anything or got a taste of something better or even different? The final reel goes comes up and you haven't got a clue!

Derek "Leck" Leckenby (the Buddy Holly lookalike on guitar) is the only one of the group to have passed away (1995) He worked in the music biz until his death - by cancer - at the age of 51. This was his last film. RIP.
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Better than expected
sgfarrell_928 July 2006
I was ten years old when the British Invasion reached the shores of North America in 1964, and I was fourteen when the Hippie Revolution took-off in 1967-68. I think this Herman's Hermit movie was a bridge between the two time periods. It reminded me of how the Monkees attempted to jump from the mod to the flower power era during the second season of their TV series.

I was crazy about the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Gerry & the Pacemakers and the Dave Clark Five, but I always looked down at Herman & his pals as an overly cutesy girl band. My sisters, Pat & Barb, loved them. However, I found myself rather enjoying this film for many reasons. One thing that stands out is that it is moodier than one would expect from Peter No one. I also enjoyed the scenes with the lads trying to earn money as construction workers. Most of all I liked seeing the Hermits (without Peter) getting down with some semi-hard tunes in a London night club). It seems to me that the Hermits toured my native Wisconsin in 1977 as an instrumental group.

After all of these years I have come to have more of an appreciation for Herman's Hermits and their calmer, happier brand of British Invasion music. This movie could very well be the swan song of a cooler time before we got caught up in Viet Nam, Norhern Ireland, campus demonstrations, drugs, race riots and the rest.

I wonder if any our British counterparts out there have any idea where I could get a copy of Gerry and the Pacemakers movie, FERRY ACROSS THE MERSEY? Thanks, mate
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Charming and likable 60's curio
thomas-hamilton656 February 2006
I'd never heard of this film before TCM started screening it as a late night filler - and initially woke up in the middle of it when Holloway and co were singing the poignant and totally unexpected The World is for the Young. I actually couldn't get the song out of my head for several days.

After that I kept stumbling across bits of it on different screenings and each time I said to my wife "I kinda like this movie" Tonight I finally managed to watch it from the start and although as a film it doesn't really amount to much it's such a good natured, sweet and enjoyably off kilter movie that it just makes me feel good to see it.

I wanted to see what other people thought and it seems a few reviewers do get it - whereas some others seem to get strangely vindictive and offended.

Yes it's completely out of jaunt with it's year and the Hermits were anachronisms by 1968 but Peter No one (I tried to make his surname come out correct) is perfectly fine in the lead, the supporting cast is great, the brightly coloured widescreen is a pleasure to the eyes.

Guilty pleasure or not I've really warmed to this.
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I don't get it....I LOVED this movie!!!!
london_17315 December 2004
I really don't see what the bad reviews are about. I loved this movie and I've seen it many times. The story is cute and the overall plot is not bad either.

The basic storyline is this. Herman's Hermits own a dog named Mrs. Brown. They take her out on the track one day and they know immediately that she would be a champion race dog. The only problem is that they need money (entrance fees, etc.) in order to get started. They decide to play in some small clubs for money. There are some side story lines such as Percy, the man Herman meets while watering flowers on his grandfather's grave. Percy gives them a place to stay for a few days. A few day's later, Mrs. Brown gets lost and she turns up with Percy, who brings her back to Herman. Herman finds out she's going to have a puppy. The puppy is a female and at the end of the movie, Herman goes into the house and as he's watching the puppy, he starts singing "Mrs. Brown, you've got a lovely daughter".

This movie is not geared toward someone who is looking for a movie with some sort of deep meaning. This movie has to be watched for what it is - a regular, cute story with a happy ending.
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The boys must have needed a payday in the worst way
helpless_dancer8 November 2004
As bad as this silliness was it still outshone The Beatles "Help" by a wide margin. It was, however, not in the same class as "A Hard Days Night" by the Fab 4 which was a masterpiece - well, sorta. In Mrs. Brown we have the 5 cute Hermits running around England trying to become big time dog racers, making time with cute birds, grinning like blind apes, playing their abysmal songs, and proving their talents lie not in acting. I enjoyed the film very much because it showcased one of the original 'invasion' groups, not because it was an award winner; although it really wasn't all that bad either. Is it possible the Hermits popularity waned because at the time of this filming most rock groups has gone beyond the squeaky clean, suit and tie, short/mod hair Herman and the boys were sporting? These blokes looked like advertising men when compared to Big Brother or the Dead.
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not as bad as it sounds
barahona16 October 1999
By 1968 Herman's Hermits had become passe to their teenybopper fans, so it is not a surprise that this picture was barely released. It was one of the last of a subgenre of building a movie around a British Invasion musical group. Mrs Brown in this case was a greyhound that the band try to make into a racing champ. The redoubtable Stanley Hollaway provides some professionalism as the band's wealthy sponsor. And he just happens to have a daughter that Peter Noone takes a shine to. Do you think she will toss off her arrogant fashion photographer boyfriend to be with Noone? If you don't know the answer to that one , you haven't seen too many movies! Still this has some nice color photography and it's always amusing to see Hollywood's idea of "hippies" from the late 60's.
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A different rock n roll movie
estabansmythe26 May 2007
"Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter," was filmed two years too late to have any real box office success in the US.

Then again, it wasn't anything like the loopy, goofy, rollicking Brit Invasion silliness associated with their 1966 MGM film, "Hold On." The people who expected "Hold On Again" are totally clueless about this film.

This was a small, simple, charming decidedly very British film that probably wasn't intended for much of an American release. I never saw it until a few years ago when it was on Turner Classic Movies.

The group's hits dried up here in 1967. No hits in a year was a big deal that usually meant the end of the ride. However, the group continued to hit the charts quite nicely in the UK and Europe (as the Kinks did before their American comeback in 1969). This film was for them.

And if any Americans appreciate it, all the better! It is a nice quaint little film with nice little ditties.
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Mrs Brown You've Got An Inconsistent Story Line
cutterccbaxter8 November 2004
This movie has some fun scenes and I enjoyed some of the character actors, but it never finds a narrative drive to make it fully engaging. Still, I like seeing pieces of swinging London, as well as the parts of England that weren't swinging at all. My favorite bit is when Peter No one is running about looking for the missing Mrs. Brown, and the rest of the Hermits jam on a somewhat psychedelic number in front of a bunch of hippies grooving to the beat. It was almost like the Hermits were playing the UFO Club. Early on the advertising scenes were sort of funny but the film never follows through with this part of the story which seemed typical of the film as a whole.
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Dreadful attempt to cash in on a hit song
Melm16 August 1999
Much as I love Herman's Hermits' music, this has to be one of the worst movies I've ever seen. plot was so weak it should have been strangled at birth and despite an attempt by Lance Percival to play Peter Noone's father, it was all pretty dire. The script writing was extremely poor too and it's not hard to see why Peter Noone kept to music (though he did get an early start as Len Fairclough's son in the long running British Soap Coronation Street)
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Was up late with a fever, and watched this drivel
shrubbmeister14 October 2005
Unfortunately for me, since I was feeling poorly already, I subjected my eyes and ears to this horrible waste of film.

To say that it was so bad that even monkeys would have brain damage after watching it is an understatement. Peter No one's teeth look like part of Stonehenge, and his acting is just as rock-like.

Holloway's talent was wasted here, and the useless frame after frame after frame after FRAME of the no talent Sarah Caldwell made it VERY clear that the dog had more talent.

Speaking of the dog, any movie that would have greyhound racing as the premise is bad enough, but with this dreck of a script, it astounds me that this movie was made at all. Not to mention this piece of dog poo(greyhound perhaps) of a 'film' gave birth to "A kind of Hush", which I am sure, if played for more than 6 hours to a plant, would make it curl up and die.

I loved the denouement, though. It occurred when the film in the camera ran out, apparently.

This film makes Spice World look like Citizen Kane. I weep for all the guitar picks that weren't made because the film was used on this horrible bit of pig vomit.

It was.............bad.
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Surprisingly different for a '60s pop musical
Chris-19513 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I'm not saying it's a great film, or that it holds a candle to "Help!" or "A Hard Day's Night", but I have to admire this film for at least trying to not play into audience expectations for this type of movie. The difference is especially jarring if you watch if after the Hermits' first film, "Hold On!", which I did when TCM ran them back to back one afternoon.

It's part kitchen sink drama, part '60s musical. There's not a lot of great music, to be honest. The opening number is quite good, "There's a Kind of Hush" is probably the best known song. The title song isn't even sung in full until the end.

The story, though, doesn't go in any of the directions you'd expect. Nothing's changed by the end. Halfway through the film, when things take a turn for the worse, I figured I knew exactly how things would turn around for the lead, how he would get the girl, how his dog would win the big race, how his band would hit the big time... and nothing I predicted happened. For that alone, I have to defend the film.

It's also apparent that by this time, success in the US was not paramount. The films makes few concessions to American audiences. I can't attest to how accurate the film's setting is, but much of it is set in working class Manchester and meant to appeal to a British audience.
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Stanley's Got The Lovely Daughter
bkoganbing9 July 2009
In the second of two films that the English band Herman's Hermits made, Herman aka Peter No one, inherits a greyhound racing dog and appropriately it's named Mrs. Brown. After their big hit what else would you call it, except maybe Henry VIII.

Though the band has long broken up, Peter No one remains active today on the nostalgia circuit on both sides of the pond. The boys from this band are even joined by another generation of Music Hall performers with Stanley Holloway as the produce tycoon who has not lost his common touch. Holloway looked like he was having a great old time performing with Herman's Hermits. Holloway has a daughter in the film and his name is Brown and of course she likes Peter.

No need to dwell on the plot, there isn't much of one. If you're of the generation of Herman's Hermits, just sit back and listen and watch Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter.
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Herman's Hermits go to the dogs
moonspinner5526 July 2006
Five lads from Manchester, England have inherited a greyhound who proves to have prowess on the dog-track; to raise the money for the racing entrance fee, they decide to form a music group. Inoffensive piffle, brightly-made against '60s London backdrops (with curious but not entirely misplaced fashion lay-out interludes and musical montages). Herman's Hermits are not an exciting nor formidable pop band--buttoned-down and squeaky-clean, they barely have personalities--but their acting is better here than in 1966's "Hold On!" and the hit "There's a Kind of Hush (All Over the World)" is prettily performed. The older folks in the cast, including Stanley Holloway, are given room to shine, and the script has some heart and appeal. ** from ****
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a bad but interesting movie
michael.e.barrett8 February 2001
Warning: Spoilers
Although this site and Maltin's book claim the film is 110 minutes, the version I just saw on TCM was 94 minutes and I would not have wished it longer. However, I have a thing for "bad" musicals of the 60s and 70s, the post-classic era of transition (or dissolution, actually) of the form, when all kinds of things were happening. Thanks to rock music, musicals were evolving towards the music-video stage when a number needn't be a stage-able event that happens to photographed. Even the old Busby Berkley numbers, though supremely cinematic and incapable of being presented on a theatrical stage, were essentially staged events (on the soundstage) with editing linking together the separate fanciful bits. But in "The Telephone Hour" sequence in "Bye Bye Birdie," for example, there is little or no choreography EXCEPT through the editing; the bits of film are being choreographed. This finally arrived as a formal idea in Richard Lester's Beatles films, where he cuts snippets of the band's performance, dropped into the film from nowhere, with other random events.

So this Herman's Hermits film, as another post-Brit Invasion, post-Lester movie, should be right in that modern wave, right? Not quite. Stanley Holloway says at one point "You can't jump with one foot on the ground," and it seems that most of the movie has both feet in the old tradition of musical entertainment, both in content and form, aiming squarely at the middle class audience rather than excitable youngsters. It's a trad rags-to-riches plot (rather than being a snapshot of a famous band like the Beatles movies), and they don't even care about being rock stars, only in the supremely dull dog-racing plot. In the end (SPOILERS, if it matters), they haven't quite made it yet and Peter Noone does not get the rich girl but may settle for the poor-but-honest local girl who moons for him. It's a very unhurried film, to say the least. It's best virtue is the location filming in Manchester and London, which gives it a true sense of place. You do get the sense that these are plain lads in a real world who have to work for a living. The Mod elements are purely cosmetic; film spends more time on music-hall songs than the glimpses of wacky hairdos and Carnaby Street clothes.

But we can see that it employs 3 kinds of musical number. There's what you might call the integrated or performance number, where the reason people are singing and dancing is that a professional band is performing in some venue, just as you might see in real life. Then there's what you might call the inherent or organic number that we associate with musicals; life is a world where people spontaneously sing and dance in the street. These numbers are given to other characters than the Hermits, and one of these numbers, a nostalgic song by the older characters about the younger ones, is presented in a non-stageable, creatively edited, music-video manner (using split-screen). Finally there is what you might call the internalized number (another progressive music-video idea), in which a character (or the film itself) seems merely to be thinking the song to himself/itself on the soundtrack while we view the activities of characters who go about their business without any idea that a song is going on. This is how "There's a Kind of Hush All Over the World" is presented; the reality is that Noone is in bed woolgathering, but what we see is his imagined self wandering across a bridge and through the country where couples are wooing; he is not singing but we hear him anyway.
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This COULD have been a film, but sadly...
dmh727 October 2004's not. The sad thing is that there WAS an interesting (at least serviceable) idea for a rock and roll film in there, but it is hashed up with at least one too many "bright ideas". The fact that Peter No one's character is attempting to make it at an advertising firm, and that his band's is having a go at club success was more than enough. The greyhound racing scenes are immeasurably uninteresting, and the fact that the dog is actually named "Mrs. Brown" is almost beyond forbearance! But taking off from the fact that advertising is almost the precise opposite of the 60s ethos could have been fun, and would be able to expand on George Harrison's short experience with such callow types in "Hard Day's Night" to nice effect. The songs (by the talented Graham Goulding, who wrote "For Your Love" and "Bus Stop" among many more fine tunes) are not mainly his best work (although "A Kind of Hush" is perfectly decent), but they are pleasant, and - combined with the music hall performances that drift in and out of the film, the soundtrack could have been at least strong enough to support an less-crippled plot. Of course, one probably couldn't expect a trenchant (or even a tepid) satire from folks who are obviously only rushing out a product themselves, but hope springs eternal. And there are enough bad club date stories to fill fifty movies. But greyhound races take up ENTIRELY too much film space, and renders the movie almost unbearable, unless one tapes it and rushes from song to song, stopping also for Sterling Holloway, and some other such older talents. Otherwise, not recommendable.
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Horrible late-sixties showcase for the Hermits
Ripshin15 October 2005
How some posters in here can ramble for several paragraphs discussing this flick is bizarre. It is little more than a badly directed, scripted and photographed attempt to cash-in on a fading musical act.

The cliché about bad teeth in Britain certainly appears to be based on fact. The motley sets on display here can often distract one from the (albeit lame) scene in progress.

Manchester, as it is filmed here, appears to be one the most drab cities in England, although London doesn't fare much better.

Yes, this film reflects a fairly common genre of its time period, but it is by no means a stellar example.

Avoid it. I don't even recommend a TiVo session.
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A load of tripe!!
nixonkg-15 July 2012
I have to agree this movie is more than "twaddle", it's a "load of tripe" to coin a North West England phrase!! I cannot imagine that it was ever shown North of the Watford Gap!! It would have been laughed off the screen in Manchester.

I would think that all involved with this film would have been extremely embarrassed by the end product.

Most of the character actors, Marjorie Rhodes, Stanley Holloway etc performed well but were let down by the silly pointless script, and amateurish Hermans Hermits.

A film for insomniacs!!
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An interesting period piece
kentrasmussen30 June 2012
(Disclaimer: IMDb's text editor, not I, put a space in the middle of Peter No one's surname, which should be one word, even in this sentence. The text editor must have been designed by Microsoft.)

I was well aware of the pop group Herman's Hermits during the sixties and rather liked their hit song "I'm Henry VIII I Am." However, I've always regarded the group as a featherweight novelty act and never even heard of this film until it aired on TCM a few nights ago. I watched the film out of curiosity because of my fondness for music of the sixties. I didn't expect sparkling musical numbers and wasn't disappointed (or pleasantly surprised).

As other notes posted here explain, the film got virtually no exposure in the United States on its 1968 release, which helps explains why I never heard of it before. Other postings also discuss how the film was aimed at British, not American, audiences. That makes sense, too. It shows aspects of British life that would hold little appeal for Americans. However, that may be a reason for seeing the film. Britain wasn't all "swinging London" during the sixties.

I don't quite buy the suggestion that the film is not a deliberate takeoff on the Beatle films HARD DAYS NIGHT and HELP! I see it very much in that same genre, with clear (but failed) attempts to mimic the seemingly ad-libbed dialog of those other films. As I watched MRS. BROWN, I couldn't help but wonder how the same script would have worked with the Beatles playing the leads instead of Peter No one's band. It almost certainly would have been much better, as the Beatles projected significantly more personality with similar dialog in their own films. I don't know if that's because the Beatles had more personality (they did) or because audience were more familiar with the individual members of the Beatles before seeing their films. A few times as I watched MRS. BROWN, I imagined how I probably would have laughed if Ringo or George uttered lines that fell flat from the mouths of the Hermits. The problem with the Hermits is that both they and their music are simply too bland. In any case, it might be interesting to watch MRS. BROWN and HARD DAY'S NIGHT back to back. I expect my own reaction would similar to that which I experienced when I saw POLICE ACADEMY 4 and RAISING ARIZONA back to back at drive-in many years ago. After suffering through PA4, I was ready to award RA a best-picture Oscar five minutes into it. (Of course, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that HARD DAY'S NIGHT was Oscar-worthy on its own merits.) While I would argue that MRS. BROWN was directly influenced by the Beatle films, it also shows influences of other sixties British films, such as MORGAN: A SUITABLE CASE FOR TREATMENT. In that delightful film, David Warner plays a slightly crazy member of a working-class family. The scenes in his gritty home and neighborhood are similar to those in the Manchester home of No one's character (imagine No one in an undershirt washing dishes in cramp, messy kitchen). However, whereas Warner's character is obsessed with reclaiming his upperclass wife (Vanessa Redgrave), No one's character is obsessed with having his female dog ("Mrs. Brown") run in races.

A side note: Sheila White, the blonde who plays Tulip, the shy girl with a crush on No one, later played the treacherous Messalina in I, CLAUDIUS. Quite a startling contrast in characters.

One more comment: It's hard to believe that Peter No one is still performing Herman's Hermits songs. What's next? Will Nancy Sinatra reemerge to tour with "Boots"? Actually, for all I know, she has her own club in Branson, Mo. I wonder if there is a similar elephant graveyard in Britain.

Finally, to anyone wondering if they should watch this film the next time it turns up on TCM, I would recommend giving it a look. It's an interesting perspective on sixties pop culture ... and it would be a much better investment of 90 minutes of your life than a SyFy Channel movie of the week.
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Cheerful and moronic.
fedor86 April 2008
Who the hell are Herman's Hermits? Quite clearly I'm not familiar enough with all those 60s rip-off bands of The Beatles. MBYGALD shows that even bands who've got personalities as colourful and diverse as a bunch of accountants and librarians going on a fishing trip can be offered to make a movie in which this absolutely amazing collective charisma is supposed to set the screen on fire. I half-enjoyed the first 10-15 minutes solely due the nice photography and colourful 60s England, but this quickly wore off, leaving me to yawn like a walrus at the rest. The songs are mostly vomit-inducing, safe, uninspired drivel, and the dialogues even worse: whether a mouth opens to sing or talk, it only ejects vomitus. The daft humour is strictly for very young children and the Zurueckgebliebenen. I finally gave up on the film about halfway into it, preferring instead to devise ways of torture to be implemented on its demented, sadistic producers. On the other hand, the financial failure this little movie must have been during its release was probably enough punishment for them as it is...
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England Swings for Herman's Hermits
wes-connors20 October 2007
In swinging 1960s England, "Herman's Hermits" - aka Peter "Herman" N-o-o-n-e*, Keith Hopwood, Derek Leckenby, Karl Green, and Barry Whitwam - get involved with dog-racing for profit. Stanley Holloway and Mona Washbourne (as Mr. and Mrs. Brown) lift the film's acting levels only slightly, unfortunately; they have a very fetching teen model daughter Judy (Sarah Caldwell), who catches Mr. N-o-o-n-e*'s eye. The other "Mrs. Brown" is his greyhound dog...

By far, the best part of the film is Herman's "There's a Kind of Hush (All Over the World)" night dream; it's a great song, and was a huge international hit for the group in early 1967. Title song "Mrs. Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter" is also a winner; however, it is not given a full performance in this film - and, it's an even older track. Strong new material from the group (and session players Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones) might have helped this film. The "My Old Man's A Dustman" scene/song is amusing, but why wasn't a Hermits-sung performance if this song used? That might have provided the group with a film-supporting novelty hit; at least in the USA, which the Hermits seemed more able to do than Most...

* it is spelled N-o-o-n-e, but the correct spelling doesn't work.

*** Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter (8/3/68) Saul Swimmer ~ Peter N-o-o-n-e*, Keith Hopwood, Karl Green, Barry Whitwam
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