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  Just for Fun Funny Kind Of Protest Songs
Year: 1963
Director: Gordon Flemyng
Stars: Mark Wynter, Cherry Roland, Richard Vernon, Reginald Beckwith, John Wood, Jeremy Lloyd, Harry Fowler, Edwin Richfield, Alan Freeman, David Jacobs, Jimmy Savile, Irene Handl, Hugh Lloyd, Dick Emery, Mario Fabrizi, Kenny Lynch, Joe Brown, Bobby Vee
Genre: Comedy, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Once upon a time, there was a little, island nation which had two main political parties, the Conservatives, whose motto was "We've never had it so good" and Labour, whose motto was "We've never had it", and with a general election approaching fast they think they can energise the electorate by giving teenagers the vote. The teenagers themselves are delighted by this news, and begin drawing up plans for what to do next: since those parties do not appeal, they opt to go against the grain and establish their own party instead, a teenagers' party that will cater to their needs and provide what they all really want for the country's future. Which is pop music and plenty of it...

Just For Fun was the almost immediate follow-up to It's Trad, Dad, which had had the bonus of Richard Lester as director who marshalled his troops, whereas this had Gordon Flemyng, a safe pair of hands in countless television episodes, but not so distinguished as a cinematic talent, and it was true this did not have quite the same snap. What it did have was future director Nicolas Roeg as cinematographer, so at the very least it looked smart and slick, just as well when about eighty-five percent of it was what amounted to pop videos, or rather those short clips you would get in video jukeboxes, which did not catch on in the same way as the record jukeboxes, but have historical interest.

In case you had not twigged, that plot about the kids forming their own political movement was not exactly a robust item of narrative (see the American Wild in the Streets for that), it was merely there to offer a link between the various music sequences, featuring acts who would be forgotten today, in the main, largely because there was not a huge amount of hits to be heard, and certainly not what turned up on oldies stations on the radio. Even the bigger performers like The Crickets or Joe Brown and the Bruvvers were not bringing out their big guns, which left practically the last tune we heard as the most recognisable, Bobby Vee's The Night has a Thousand Eyes, one of two he delivered in the movie, and the sole one to have endured into the twenty-first century.

Those acts were a mixture of talent from either side of the Atlantic, and Mark Wynter got to sing the theme tune as he was the lead, co-starring with one and done Cherry Roland, who retired from showbiz straight after her big screen debut. The rest of the non-singers were made up of the sort of middle-aged character actors who always seemed to show up in this sort of thing, Reginald Beckwith played the leader of the opposition, Irene Handl was polled during the election and managed to start taking the pollster's clothes off (!), Richard Vernon was the Prime Minister who tries to sabotage the youth vote even as he has ushered it in, and best of all Dick Emery played every member of a panel on Juke Box Jury, though whether he got the idea from Benny Hill or vice versa was not so clear. There were also three contemporary disc jockeys to introduce the tuneage, David Jacobs, Alan Freeman and, oh dear, Jimmy Savile.

That last celebrity is the reason this film would never be seen on any nostalgia channels on British TV, never mind brought out on DVD or streaming, for he had become persona non-grata after a host of sexual assault allegations were made after his death. The last thing you want to think about is something like that when you're wallowing in nostalgia, or merely dipping into it, but Just for Fun illustrated the baggage that can come with this territory. Otherwise, as Savile was only in this intermittently over a ten-minute period, you could ignore him and think on how this was small studio Amicus' last production to concentrate on pop music before producer and screenwriter Milton Subotsky alighted on horror anthologies that became his bread and butter, though he did make a move to mix the two in the curious, post-Amicus The Monster Club. This was fairly impressively staged on a small budget, not quite as imprinted on the memory as Gonks Go Beat, but not a million miles away either, though this had better jokes.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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