Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush.

This romanticised look at 1967 Britain through the eyes of an awkward, spotty faced, suburban schoolboy has all the clichés familiar with this period.  Psychedelic credit titles, rock music from Spencer Davies Group and Traffic, fantasy sequences, dolly birds, and lots of Carnaby Street fashions, the odd chemical substance and of course free and easy sex! Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (1967), officially released on DVD for the first time by the BFI in September 2010 as part of its Flipside series, demonstrates the reason for some of the hype that has been build-up about the sixties generation.

Barry Evans, best known for his appearance in the Doctor series on the television between 1967 and 1971, plays Jamie the six former delivering groceries on a bike in Stevenage New Town with his mind firmly on the serious matter of losing his virginity. The focus of his attention involves five modern young ladies who are deemed sexually available and ripe for his seductive advances. Advances which become far more urgent when our budding stud finds out that his younger brother has already lost his virginity.

Jamie and his l sexual conquests?
That really is the crux of the narrative but Clive Donners film does give some interesting incites into the psyche of the sixties. For example the portrayal of Jamie’s family, resolutely working class with dad’s football pools and their accompanying silence at 5 o’clock Saturday teatime and mums with her curlers which seem permanently in her hair, but in their modern new town home few elements of traditional working class culture exist. Also Jamie’s quite at home mixing with all classes of people and not forgetting the era’s attitudes to sex.

Enjoyable, but corny, the film is based on a novel by Hunter Davis, famous for writing The Beatles first biography. It’s a first person narrative with a direct address to the camera by Barry Evans that is not quite up to standard set by Michael Caine in Alfie released the year before. Great use of colour and its non-London setting makes a real change. It was suggested by certain well known critics at the time of its release that Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush would hasten the decline of western civilisation, interesting thought?

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