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  Some People Sing Duke Of Earl, Then
Year: 1962
Director: Clive Donner
Stars: Kenneth More, Ray Brooks, Anneke Wills, David Andrews, Angela Douglas, David Hemmings, Harry H. Corbett, Fanny Carby, Richard Davies, Frankie Dymon, Fred Ferris, Michael Gwynn, Cyril Luckham, Timothy Nightingale, Dean Webb
Genre: Musical, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: In Bristol, there are three motorcyclists who are always at a loose end when they're not being bored out of their minds at work in a local factory, and being young men that means they are prone to trouble. Johnnie (Ray Brooks), Bert (David Hemmings) and Bill (David Andrews) know they like their bikes, they know they like birds, but isn't there anything else to occupy their time? This becomes more pressing when one day they are out trying to impress one another with the speed of their machines and end up nearly causing a serious accident...

Which means no more bikes for our trio of likely lads for at least a year, the length of the driving ban they have received for their road crime. Some People wasn't the best title for a movie, the only way they could have been more vague would be to call it A Few Things Happen Then That's the End of the Film, but for whatever reason, either seeing it on its release or catching it on television, it stuck in the minds of quite a number of, er, people, mostly thanks to it capturing something of the atmosphere of sixties Britain as lived by ver kids of the day. So if the plot wasn't up to much, you could drink in all that authentic, vintage mood.

Actually, this was a production with an ulterior motive: draw in the wild young chaps and chapesses and give them a moral lesson in what they could really be doing with their spare time. And the sinister mastermind behind this? Our old friend Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, husband of the Queen of the United Kingdom and catalyst to getting his citizens to get out and about on adventure courses for his Awards Scheme. Some People was made with all that in mind, to get youthful Brits up off their arses and go on canoeing trips, hiking excursions and other forms of sustained physical exercise.

How did this translate into prompting Johnnie, Bill and Bert (each sporting the Bristol accent) to getting in touch with their get up and go? For one of them, it didn't at all, as Bill gave in to the dark side and preferred to cause more trouble, but the other two were taken under the wing of church choirmaster and traffic controller for the Air Force Mr Smith, played by Kenneth More, according to the opening credits doing a personal favour to The Duke by appearing in this. Mr Smith is eminently reasonable and understanding, a perfect father figure - what we see of Johnnie's father (Harry H. Corbett) doesn't give us much cheer - and it is he who suggests they use the church hall for band practice to channel their energies.

This is the gateway drug into getting them onto the Awards Scheme through reverse psychology, plus the presence of Mr Smith's daughter Anne (Anneke Wills, soon to be famous across the land as a Doctor Who companion) attracts Johnnie to hang around. The other band members are two fellows who happened to be there anyway, one of whom looks remarkably like a young John Shuttleworth (even playing a funny-sounding mini-organ), the other an apparent predecessor to Charley Charles or Romeo Challenger, and as singer the girl who had her eye on Johnnie, Terry, played by Angela Douglas who shortly after became Kenneth More's third wife. She mimes to a few tunes and it's looking good for their plans, only Bill cannot stand to see them making something of themselves and tries to sabotage it, leading to a "what's the point?" crisis which is resolved more subtly than you'd expect. As do-gooding drama, this was pretty contrived, but as a time capsule, it had worth. Music by Ron Grainer (another Doctor Who connection).
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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