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  Live It Up! Make It BigBuy this film here.
Year: 1963
Director: Lance Comfort
Stars: David Hemmings, Jennifer Moss, Veronica Hurst, Heinz Burt, Kenny Ball, Joan Newell, David Bauer, Trisha Noble, Gene Vincent, Ed Devereaux, Penny Lambirth, Kim Roberts, John Pike, Steve Marriott, Peter Glaze, Douglas Ives, Peter Noble, Nancy Spain
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Music
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Dave Martin (David Hemmings) is a despatch rider, but he has big dreams that go beyond the daily grind because he wants to make it in the music industry with his band of co-workers, all of whom are teenagers like he is. His father is less than impressed with his son's choice of career, and keeps on at him to give up the band and be more serious about the kind of work that he does, but David wishes to persevere. Therefore his father offers him an ultimatum: if the music business does not want him after one month, he must pack it in...

Don't worry too much about the plot in Live It Up!, because the whole hour and a quarter was given over to being a delivery system for the tunes that the guest stars played. This was offered more cult interest than many of such cheap cash-ins of the day in that the producer and writer of much of the songs you hear was the legendary Joe Meek, here still riding high just as The Beatles and the Stones and their ilk were about to show up and spoil his party. For that reason this holds quite some historical interest, but also that is down to the way it portrayed its slice of life circa 1963.

The actual storyline may have been hard to believe, but the details were like a social historian's treasure trove, as what would have been prosaic stuff at the time is the stuff of nostalgia now, depending on whether you were actually around back then to recall what it was like. Naturally it does come across as fairly prehistoric as far as its depiction of the rock industry went, but for those intrigued by such things there was a genuine attraction in seeing, say, fifties rocker Gene Vincent croon a Meek tune, his built up shoe quite obvious (was it a good idea to have him walk around so much during his segment, though?).

Also filling out Dave's band (and this was Hemmings before he really made the big time, getting a break here) were future member of The Small Faces Steve Marriott, then a teen himself, and Meek's protege Heinz Burt, who had enjoyed one major solo hit in the UK, but found stardom a difficult thing to hang onto - watch his non-acting performance here and you will have an inkling as to why. There are other faded stars of yesteryear too, with Jennifer Moss as the love interest for Dave; she was a big TV celebrity on popular soap Coronation Street, but was heading for ruin over the next few decades thanks to her drink and drug addictions.

Rather happier was the career of trad jazz man Kenny Ball, who here may have been looking like part of the old guard, but proved why he was popular in two of the non-Meek tracks, and being integral to the plot when the other singers merely have walk-ons to belt out their material and are never referred to again. The main tension arises when Dave loses the all-important demo tape of his band's song, the band being called The Smart Alecs, which is fairly appropriate in light of the amount of badmouthing they spend their time on. But a trip to a film studio where the guests are performing in a movie means that there's a handy plot twist, nothing too realistic but a nice enough set up for a fairy tale ending. Check out the big shot producer, who has had such hit movies as Don't Touch My Bikini - banned in the UK, but boasting a big following in Japan (!).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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