HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Assimilate
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Mortal
Iron Mask, The
Dinosaur
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Collective
Charulata
Minari
Violation
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Honeydew
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
Escape from Coral Cove
Swan Princess, The
Shortcut
Stray
Butterfly Murders, The
Pimp
   
 
Newest Articles
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
   
 
  Band of Thieves Crafty Clarinet
Year: 1963
Director: Peter Bezencenet
Stars: Acker Bilk, Carol Deene, Maudie Edwards, Stan Grieg, Peter Haigh, Charmian Innes, Jennifer Jayne, Eleanor McCready, Arthur Mullard, Norrie Paramor, Michael Peake, Marianne Stone, Geoffrey Sumner, Jimmy Thompson, Totti Truman Taylor
Genre: Comedy, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Mr Acker Bilk and his jazz band are playing to a captive audience: the inmates of a prison, though no matter how they have to be there anyway, the convicts are eager to applaud once the show is over. The Governor (Geoffrey Sumner) is an avid fan of trad jazz of which this band are premier exponents, and it was his idea to have them perform here, but now the prisoners are filing back to their cells Acker and his musicians must leave the stage - and return to their cells as well, for they have been incarcerated too. But there's a chance their music might get them an early release...

Around about this time there were movie producers keen to put anybody who could sing or play an instrument to a degree that guaranteed them some level of success into a film of their own. Depending on the extent of their stardom, they could be wheeled on as guest stars, or if they were lucky take the lead, which was how the unlikely figure of Mr Acker Bilk, clarinetist extraordinaire, got to be the protagonist in his personal vehicle. Not that he actually said very much in it in spite of being the supposed main attraction, as whether by choice or the design of others by and large he let the music do the talking.

Which was just as well when you saw him try to act, as he seemed content to speak his lines and adopt a mischievous, "How did I end up here? I can't believe me luck!" persona, as if all too well aware of the flimsiness of the movie that placed him in the starring role. The tunes, on the other hand, were nicely played and arranged, penned by Acker and popular bandleader of the day Norrie Paramor who attended to production duties on a variety of the musicians and singers of the day, including Cliff Richard who himself was no stranger to the cheery musical as a way of publicising the acts of the day. Cliff, however, would have had no truck with the goings-on here.

You'd never get the Peter Pan of Pop playing a prisoner come the sixties, but here the whole set up was so unselfconsciously silly that it was difficult to begrudge them the daft idea of making Bilk a movie celebrity. When one of the characters uses his name as a swear word, you can tell what the sense of humour of the piece was, a self-mocking affair which nevertheless was serious about the appeal of the trad jazz melodies. That movement had emerged from the New Orleans jazz sound, pushed in Britain by the fans who were unimpressed with the more experimental modern jazz, though as a fad it didn't last as long as the British rock 'n' roll sound, especially as the year this came out The Beatles were making their mark on pop culture.

The Fab Four got their movies to make as well, of course, and they have endured further than Band of Thieves and the other ephemera released on the lower half of double bills designed for a quickie cash-in, though for a brief snapshot (this barely lasts over an hour) of the era it offers a neat idea of what the entertainment was like. The plot was simply an excuse to get the group playing, and although non-aficionados may have trouble working out the differences between each number (fast and slow are the basic variations), there were a few amusing comedy bits as the band are persuaded by likely lad Jimmy Thompson to help out in a few robberies when they're touring off the back of their newfound fame. Their patron is the Governor's wife (Maudie Edwards, the first person to speak on TV soap Coronation Street), oblivious like the rest of the well-meaning folks to the subterfuge, and Jennifer Jayne was beyond perfunctory as Thompson's (not Bilk's) love interest. Totally lightweight, but the tunes were foottappers.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1974 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

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

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: