Thursday, 9 January 2014

Some People.

The question asked in this early sixties film is whether a local youth club with its ping pong soft drinks and cosy church like atmosphere is enough to save three motorcycle lads from becoming delinquents. Its when Johnnie (Ray Brooks) and his two mates Bill (David Andrews) and Bert (David Hemmings in his first decent role) get banned from riding their bikes and who after their days work at the timber yard has finished end up at a loose end wondering the streets trying to keep themselves entertained without getting into more trouble. But its when they go into the local church and Johnnie starts banging out a tune on the organ, which obviously upsets the Minister, that they meet Mr Smith the part time organist and choirmaster who along with his attractive daughter Anne (Anneke Wills best known for her role as Polly in BBC TV’s Doctor Who) arrange for the boys to use the Church Hall to rehearse their rock-n-roll outfit, complemented by a couple of middle class lads from the choir and Bills girlfriend Terry played by the Carry On actress Angela Douglas. Gradually they are brain washed into taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme but Bills not keen, which in turn leads to tension between him and Johnnie. 
"The Band" 
A cross between 60's realism and the cheerful optimism of the Cliff Richard musicals Clive Donner's Some People (1962) is not only a look at the teenage culture of the early sixties, where alcohol was the working class drug of choice, but an advert for the virtues of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme for youth. When actor Kenneth More was asked to play Mr Smith he agreed to do so for nothing apart from his expenses because of his support of the DOEAS which the film promoted and that the proceeds would go to the Award Scheme and the National Playing Fields Association. It was during the filming that he met Angela Douglas for whom he left his second wife after 16 years of marriage. He then found himself virtually ostracised by the film industry until success in the BBC's 1967 adaptation of The Forsyth Saga made his talent and popularity impossible to ignore.
Ray Brooks with Mrs More to be Angela Douglas.
The film was shot entirely on location in Bristol. Songs for this semi musical were written by Ron Grainer and Johnny Worth and performed by the UK band The Eagles and singer Valerie Mountain.  Clive Donner, who went on to direct two other memorable 60’s films The Caretaker (1963) and Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush (1967), makes the most of his young cast with Ray Brooks worth a special mention. Without the obvious DOEAS propaganda this could have been a serious pre Beatles look at youth culture with the usual problems of not being accepted by middleclass society who at that time were scared of the power that working class teenagers were beginning to assert through high employment and money in there pockets. Instead we end up with a rather cozy look at the perceived youth problems of the time, so much better portrayed in other films of the period like the Free Cinema Movement that lead into the British New Wave and Basil Dearden’s social problem films like Violent Playground (1958).

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