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  Blue Money Beyond His Wildest Dreams
Year: 1985
Director: Colin Bucksey
Stars: Tim Curry, Debby Bishop, Billy Connolly, Dermot Crowley, Frances Tomelty, George S. Irving, Sue Wallace, Geraldine Griffiths, Georgia Allen, Siobhan Hayes, Richard Chadwick, David Quilter, John Bird, Jo Apted, Peter Godfrey
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Thriller, TV MovieBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Since moving from Dublin, Larry Gormley (Tim Curry) has become one of the biggest stars to hit the London stage - or he would be if anyone had heard of him. Currently he makes his living as a taxi driver, but he still harbours his dreams of making it big, so convinced is he of his talents as a singer, and he does make some extra money as a cabaret performer, though the patrons of those establishments are rarely ecstatic to listen to him. Still, it keeps his act well-oiled as he goes on the audition circuit, and there is something coming up that should see him perfectly cast, a rock 'n' roll musical which is ideal given he loves that golden age of music and knows all the tunes anyway...

In the television landscape of the nineteen-eighties in Britain, the effects of a certain programme called Minder were considerably felt, as soon the small screen was flooded with wide boys, colourful rogues and blokes looking for easy cash who were not averse to bending the law of the land to get it. George Cole and Dennis Waterman had been the stars of that, while on the BBC Only Fools and Horses took care of the other side, but the schedules were littered with these things, on everything from children's TV to more serious efforts, which Blue Money ostensibly was. It was a drama with jokes, another popular genre of this decade, here added with a little thriller element for spice, and directed by Colin Bucksey who would soon be one of the most sought after TV directors around.

Especially in Hollywood. But what it really was turned out to be a generous opportunity for Tim Curry to strut his stuff and demonstrate what a versatile performer he was. Ever since he had become a cult legend for his starring role in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, he had been much sought after but proved difficult to find a vehicle for his highly individual approaches: he was a song and dance man, he could handle comedy and drama, and seemingly could slot into any genre, but his very wide range was the reason he was not always seen at his best advantage. Not so much jack of all trades and master of none, more that he was way too good at what he did, so with so many choices how would you use him effectively?

Luckily for Curry, in the eighties along came this before he moved to Hollywood and took up character roles, which displayed at least some of his abilities as Larry has ample opportunity to belt out a song or ten (his Mick Jagger is a tad Freddie Starr, however), yet also handles comedic situations and more serious implications of what he gets embroiled in. This is not set off by his auditioning so much as his desperation when a chance to get away with a huge amount of cash (the notes are printed blue, hence the title) is something he cannot resist. He has been offered the lead in a major West End show, but just as he accepts the producer (John Bird) promptly keels over from a heart attack and it seems his dreams have been scuppered once again. Hence when he is in his cab with a suitcase full of readies in the back seat, what can he do?

He drives away, being an impulsive fellow, already calculating what to spend it on, then realises the gangster he has abandoned in the street who actually owned the suitcase may not be too benevolent towards him and has second thoughts. When he cannot find this criminal, he takes it as a sign it was meant to be, and he and his girlfriend and fellow club singer Pam Hodge (Debby Bishop) hare off to Dublin as the story turns into a small screen road movie, though naturally not without complications. One of those being the presence of a hitchhiker, played by Billy Connolly in a semi-humorous role, and sustaining the plot in its middle section as he is a violent man whose good cheer barely conceals his menace, especially when he twigs the couple are carrying the money. Once in Ireland, there are further worries when the South American gangsters are hot on their trail, and the Republicans make it apparent they would like the money for their cause as well, so will Larry and Pam get away unscathed? By not quite being comedy and not quite being drama, this tended to fall between two stools, but it was very well delivered by a fine cast, and Curry's fans would be more than satisfied. Music by Richard Hartley.

[Network's Blu-ray of this TV movie has a pristine print and a gallery and subtitles as extras.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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