Architect Paul Linden (David Farrar) has just wed for the second time to a much younger French woman, Nichole (Noëlle Adam) and as they journey on the train to their home, they are obviously very much in love - although winning disapproving looks from the little old lady who shares their compartment. Nichole admits she's worried about meeting and being stepmother to Paul's sixteen-year-old daughter Jennifer (Gillian Hills), but he reassures her, certain that she will be accepted. However, he couldn't be more wrong, and Nichole has a secret in her past Jennifer will expose...
The funny thing about Beat Girl is that it wants it both ways, to tell the story of teenage delinquency from the youngsters' side while still making it clear what's going on for the stuffy adults baffled by the rebelllion of their offspring. But who would be going to see a film called Beat Girl in 1960? Most likely the kids, which makes the inclusion of stripping scenes even more bizarre - were they after the raincoat brigade as well? In its attempt to be all things to all people, the film ends up as a strange hybrid, though naturally today it looks mildly hilarious.
With those cut glass vowels, its picture of youth run wild is pretty hard to take, but perhaps now makes it more entertaining than it was back when it was first released. Jennifer is a sullen, pouting tearaway, itching to bring down her father and replacement mother who she resents unquestioningly. Nichole does her best to be friendly, but keeps running up against a brick wall of non-communication, so when she goes to meet Jennifer for lunch at a coffee bar and is recognised by a stripper from the club across the street, the teen's interest is piqued: Nichole knows a stripper?
Yes, Nichole is a woman with a past, and how will uptight Paul react when he finds out? Insensitive as ever, Jennifer brings this up at every opportunity, which leads to an uncomfortable relationship between the three main characters. Paul is shown to be hopelessly out of touch when we see his pride and joy, a model of his "City 2000", a new town designed to be completely silent and cutting its citizens off from each other as if they lived in the countryside. That maybe many enjoy interacting with others doesn't seem to have crossed his mind, a heavy-handed symbol of how he doesn't understand modern society.
The cast is notable for a few reasons, firstly Hills as the rebel, prone to placing her head on railway lines "for kicks"; she's best known for showing her pubic hair in Blowup and captures a brewing spirit of the time, cinematically if nothing else. Then there's legitimate pop star Adam Faith as Dave, a guitar carrying coffee drinker who follows the path of non-violence and is about the only actor in this who doesn't use R.P. In support are Christopher Lee, fresh from his Dracula success, as the sleazy strip club owner who has his eye on Jennifer, Nigel Green as his right hand man, and Oliver Reed highly entertaining as a J.D.: watch his facial expressions for cheap laughs. Beat Girl may not be an entirely accurate depiction of "that beatnik cryde", and whether it's "straight from the fridge" may be up to personal taste, but it does amuse. Music by John Barry, including a great theme.