Thursday, 30 July 2015

Beat Girl (Wild for Kicks).

“Psychologists think most human neurosis comes from too much contact with other human beings” so says wealthy Paul Lindon (David Farrar) who has just brought his new French wife Nichole (French actress Noelle Adam) home following their wedding in Paris. The 24-year-old French beauty is only half the prominent architects age, something that strikes home when she meets Paul’s daughter, the rebellious Jennifer (Brigette Bardot wonnabee Gillian Hills), who immediately takes a dislike to her stepmother. The large austere family home that all three now share has few homely attractions. Jennifer describes it as a morgue with Nichole commenting on the houses barrenness - all of which does not help its repressive constraining atmosphere. 
Brigette Bardot wonnabee Gillian Hills.
The films narrative centres on the relationship between the two women and an area of London known as Soho. Nichole has a past to hide that involves an old friend called Greta (B-Movie actress Delphi Lawrence) who is the star performer at a strip club owned by her boyfriend Kenny King (Christopher Lee taking a break from Hammer Films). Jennifer’s frequents the Soho Coffee Bars where mainly spoilt little rich kids hang out listening and dancing to ‘cool decadent jazz’. They include the obligatory working class lad Dave (good use of pop singer Adam Faith in his first film, although his second movie, along side girlfriend of the time Carol White, Never Let Go (1960) had already been released), Tony, a general’s son whose mother was killed in the Blitz, who drinks to much (played by Peter McEnery also in his debut movie, an actor who had a prominent role in Victim in 1961 along side Dirk Bogarde) and Tony’s well bred girlfriend Dodo (Shirley Anne Field who famously played Arthur Seaton’s girlfriend Doreen in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960))   
A cool crowd in Chislehurst Caves.
Directed by French filmmaker Edmond T Greville Beat Girl (1960) or as it was known in the USA Wild for Kicks, is a product of its time with its dodgy script and terrible corny dialog. There were small roles for Oliver Reed and Carol White and a larger one for Nigel Green, best known for his role as Colonel Ross in The Ipcress File (1965) and who also appeared in a range of British movies including the thriller The Man Who Finally Died (1963) alongside Stanley Baker. Also making his debut was composer John Barry with his first movie commission. Incidentally the films soundtrack was the first to be released on a LP (a large piece of vinyl with a picture cover!). Filmed at the MGM-British Film Studios at Borehamwood Hertfordshire its location shooting took place in Soho London with club scenes filmed in the Chislehurst Caves in Kent, Southern England.
An audition takes place in a late 1950's Soho strip joint.... 

....where its owner the late Christopher Lee interrogates Gillian Hills.   
 This was another of these films’ that received critically bad reviews but was popular with cinemagoers. It had problems with the censor that delayed its general release. The setbacks were down to displays of topless nudity and strip tease along with scenes of juvenile delinquency involving public road racing and ‘playing’ chicken on a railway line!  The movie was eventually given an adult only “X” certificate; thankfully my copy of the DVD was the uncut version that certainly made it a more appealing piece of British cinematic history.        

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