Newest Reviews
Whoopee Boys, The
Set, The
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
  Six-Five Special Playing The TracksBuy this film here.
Year: 1958
Director: Alfred Shaughnessy
Stars: Diane Todd, Avril Leslie, Finlay Currie, Josephine Douglas, Pete Murray, Freddie Mills, Lonnie Donegan, Dickie Valentine, Jim Dale, Petula Clark, Russ Hamilton, Joan Regan, Johnny Dankworth, Cleo Laine, John Barry, Mike Winters, Bernie Winters
Genre: Music
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Anne (Diane Todd) is what she would term a "bathroom soprano", that is a singer who really only has confidence to belt out the tunes in the bath, as she is doing tonight in full view of her flatmate and best friend Judy (Avril Leslie) who sits reading about the exciting new television pop music programme The Six-Five Special in the newspaper. According to the article, it has been responsible for many an overnight success, which sets the cogs and gears in her mind working and she hits on an idea: how about she turns manager and brings her pal to stardom? All they need to do is hop on the 6.5 train to London and she's sure Ann's talent will see them good - but Ann needs persuading.

The origins of this piece of ephemera was a BBC television programme of the same name, produced by the incredible Jack Good, a man who almost singlehandedly defined how pop and rock music would be presented on the small screen, both in Britain and the United States. By the time this film was released, he was moving to the Beeb's rivals ITV to create the similarly groundbreaking Oh Boy! - he eventually retired from the media scene to become a monk, after a spell as an on camera presenter in America. Alas, he had nothing to do with the movie version, that being handled by some veterans in the industry who clearly wanted to make a quick profit and cash in on the title.

Needless to say, almost every performer here has been almost completely forgotten aside from the few really big stars the producers managed to secure, but there were plenty of also-rans whose fame would not last even past the end of the fifties. Among the bigger names Ann and Judy encounter on the train were Petula Clark, who trills a lightweight confection in her carriage to find out what the two girls think of it, Jim Dale, attempting a singing career before acting took over who offers up a rockabilly tune and encourages the reticent Ann, and Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Laine, two of the most respected jazz musicians of their day who deliver a couple of songs in the luggage carriage, though nothing approaching their most memorable efforts.

In fact, there are not many songs here you'll be recalling within five minutes of the film being over, possibly thanks to the sheer avalanche of music with a fresh ditty rolled out one after the other as if they were desperate to keep the audience's attention and could not afford a lull. Though there were a few bits of dialogue, such as a comedy sketch with Mike and Bernie Winters and a dog (not Schnorbitz, he arrived later, perhaps on a different train) that isn't funny exactly, but does give the impression of variety, yet in the main what drama there was rested on Ann's stage fright and Judy trying to build up her confidence. Cue a part where veteran actor Finlay Currie for some bizarre reason shows up to offer sage advice to the budding starlet and briefly reminisce about his career.

Although soundtrack enthusiasts may be interested to see John Barry with his band, the cod-rock 'n' roll they deliver is not becoming to them, and he didn't quite have the voice to carry it off. He's a shade more acceptable than the woodwind stylings of Desmond Lane, who sets about the penny whistle like Jimi Hendrix did with his guitar, or the alarming sight of tartan trews-sporting teenager Jackie Dennis, who yells his way through the sort of thing that passed for pop music in the late fifties, but is interesting in his way as an example of the in sound. However, the biggest name here, and the jewel in the booker's crown, was Lonnie Donegan, the man whose endorsement of skiffle inspired countless, important and groundbreaking British musicians, like a little band called The Beatles. He provided the grand finale with a couple of storming melodies, including Jack of Diamonds, one of his bigger hits, which alone proved the worth of the enterprise. And Ann? She gets her big break - singing one line as backing to Dickie Valentine. It's OK, she'll be back next week, avers presenter Pete Murray.

[Network's Blu-ray has as an extra a shorter, international edit of the film. Print quality very satisfying.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 1102 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton


Last Updated: