Having a Wild Weekend (1965) Poster

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10/10
Criminally under-rated
eisor8825 December 2003
I'd heard a lot about this film before I ever had the chance to see it. I was predisposed to be dismissive.

However, when I finally DID see it, I was taken quite aback.

The director, John Boorman, is very negative about this film in his recent autobiography. I must disagree. There is a lazy school of thought that sees this movie as a straight rip-off of "A Hard Day's Night". Again, I dissent.

When I sat down to watch this film I expected something approximating to the stock descriptions: derivative, formulaic, just going through the motions.

I was quite unprepared for the reality of "Catch Us If You Can", which is a far more challenging and rule-breaking movie than its reputation would suggest. (I can only suppose that some people see what they expect to see.)

It surprised me that a vehicle for a pop band should be so downbeat and thought-provoking. Another IMDb reviewer rightly drew attention to the wintriness of this film.

There are two vital encounters in the film, once Steve (Dave Clark) and Dinah (Barbara Ferris) have fled from the TV commercial they are meant to be filming. The first is with a collection of hippie-esque drop-outs hiding out in rural ruins, the second with a middle-aged couple in a large townhouse in the affluent spa-town of Bath.

Their moves are monitored at a remove by a sinister advertising man, Leon Zissell, who seems to have a Svengali-like preoccupation with Dinah. To this end he dispatches two henchmen to pursue the errant couple. The elder of the two (not THAT old, as somebody remarks - probably in his mid-30s) is loyal, but at a fancy dress party in Bath his younger colleague readily succumbs to the charms of a pretty young lady.

I could try to encapsulate the plot of this film, but what matters far more is its atmosphere. Steve and Dinah are travelling (initially in a stolen E-Type Jag) towards an island off England's Devon coast that Dinah - young and successful - is contemplating buying. (This island conceit must be a straight lift from "La Dolce Vita", where the actress Marcello Mastroianni's character is "servicing", dreams of buying just such an island.)

The soundtrack is surpisingly strong. There are some straightforward songs from the Dave Clark Five, but otherwise they strive to provide something less stamped with the band style.

Like one of the other IMDb reviewers, I would have to agree, having seen this film, that it is actually stronger, viewed simply as a film, than "A Hard Day's Night". (Where it obviously falls down is the fact that its soundtrack - excellent as it actually is - is NOT by The Beatles.)

Don't patronise this movie, or damn it with faint praise. Don't condemn it for not being what it isn't (a Beatles film), but rejoice in the boldness of its departure from the Cliff-Beatles formula.

The scene in Bath with Robin Bailey and Yootha Joyce is worth the price of admission alone!
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10/10
"It was only a dream!"
JekyllBoote-127 December 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Recently I bought the DVD of "A Hard Day's Night", and spent a whole weekend watching and re-watching it. You might gather from this that I love the movie, as indeed I do, so what I'm going to say now may very well shock you: "Catch Us If You Can" is a better movie. Of course it wouldn't exist without the pioneering example of "A Hard Day's Night", which changed youth/pop movies for ever, but it really is a better movie.

I'm always inclined to see it as the final instalment of an early- to mid-60s trilogy of movies that began with Ken Russell's "French Dressing", and continued with Michael Winner's "The System". (I'm tempted to extend this to a tetralogy, with Richard Lester's "The Knack" as the last instalment. But, unlike the other movies, "The Knack" was a critical and commercial success - Palme D'Or at Cannes, and all that.) There's a continuity of mood, if not theme, between these movies, a strange mixture of exhilaration and wistfulness. The "phoney" 60s, a sort of hangover of the late 50s, lasted in Britain until about 1962 (although there were intimations of what was to come in Anthony Newley's "The Strange World of Gurney Slade"), but the Satire Boom, followed quickly by the Beatles, ushered in the real 1960s.

"Catch Us If You Can" takes a number of audacious risks from the very start: the Dave Clark Five are not a pop group playing themselves, but a team of stuntmen working on a series of TV commercials; their songs are performed off-screen as the soundtrack to the on-screen action; the movie insists strongly on the wintry season in which it was filmed: the frozen milk, the unbearably cold conditions of the meat warehouse, the orange growing safely inside the glass conservatory, the snowy countryside.

There is little of the lightness of mood of "A Hard Day's Night". "Catch Us If You Can", like its saturnine hero, Steve (Dave Clark), is strangely downbeat and melancholy. Not even the kittenish Dinah (Barbara Ferris) is capable of raising Steve's mood of dejection for very long. Absconding from the commercial they are filming, Steve and Dinah make an erratic Pilgrim's Progress across the West Country en route to an island, off the coast of Devon, that Dinah is contemplating buying. On the way they meet a group of proto-hippies (the term would not be in widespread use until the middle of 1966) squatting in abandoned buildings on Salisbury Plain, and a bickering middle-aged couple living in the opulent surroundings of Bath's Royal Crescent. In a sense, all of these people are in flight from the modern world.

The ultimate source of Steve's dejection is Leon Zissell, the svengali-like advertising executive, who is quite evidently besotted with Dinah. Zissell casts his shadow wherever the absconding couple might find themselves.

Guy and Nan, the bickering middle-aged couple, seem somewhat sinister at first, but they show themselves to be essentially good-hearted. Both are collectors, and we initially assume that Steve and Dinah are to be added to their collections. Actually, Nan collects old clothes, while Guy collects old phonograph recordings, photographs, etc., ("The pop art of yesteryear"). Anyone viewing "Catch Us If You Can" nearly forty years on will see how it has now been added to Guy's collection itself, a clever and telling touch. (Touching, too.)

The Austin Powers movies, funny and clever as they often are, have seriously distorted younger people's perceptions of the 1960s. Amidst all the "grooviness" there was always a quieter, more reflective aspect to the 60s (e.g. "Blow-Up"), and "Catch Us If You Can" captures this. Clear your mind of preconceptions: this movie is NOT a failed attempt at re-making "A Hard Day's Night", but a brilliantly successful attempt to make something quite different - a thoughtful, grown-up film that stands the test of time.
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An overlooked classic of Swinging London
scottbaiowulf18 January 2000
The Dave Clark Five are certainly no match for the Beatles, but this film is easily worthy of comparison with A Hard Day's Night and Help! A lot of the credit must go to director John Boorman (giving a taste of the visual pyrotechnics he later unleashed in Point Blank), and to the surprisingly melancholy screenplay by Peter Nichols. (Georgy Girl, Privates on Parade)

Two young people, a stuntman (Dave Clark) and a model (Barbara Ferris), go AWOL from a commercial shoot and embark on a trip across England. But their jaunt isn't all larky fun. They bicker and quarrel, they encounter a self-consciously hip and desperately unhappy married couple; they find that their exploits have been incorporated into the glitzy ad campaign they were trying to escape from in the first place.

A fun little rock and roll film that makes dark observations about the impermanence of youthful exuberance, the futility of youthful rebellion, and the commodification of youth culture. Overall, the tone is more in keeping with the manic depressive grunge rock aesthetic than with the go-Go-GO madcap vibe of other youth films of the 60s.
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9/10
Watch it if you can
enochsneed26 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is certainly a different type of 'pop' musical film. It features one of the hottest groups of the day (seven top ten hits in the US) but takes a jaded and disillusioned view of the concept of 'youth culture'.

When Dinah and Steve break 'free' (nothing in this movie is what it appears to be) they encounter early hippies who have rejected society and its crass materialism for life on the road but seem to have found nothing but a kind of aimless boredom spiced with drug use. (I was very surprised to hear mention of heroin in 1965.) Their chosen guru is so spaced out he can hardly think straight (and we never hear the end of his rambling tale about a dead cat or discover if it has any point).

Their next encounter is with "an old married couple". This phrase normally signals contentment and affection. The film's couple is riven by jealousy, sexual predation and rejection of the present for an idealised past.

Finally meeting Louis, an old childhood friend and mentor of Steve's, they find him running a fake 'Western ranch' holiday resort in the Devon countryside. Steve angrily dismisses him and his dreams as shabby fakery.

As you can see, this is far from 'A Hard Day's Night' (in fact the film's titles both imitate and parody the scene of The Beatles running around a playing field).

Despite some negative comments here I think this film is well worth watching more than once to catch all the strands running through it. As actors the Dave Clark Five have - probably thankfully - little to do but be chirpy and quirky. Dave Clark himself rather overdoes the moody saturnine bit - that's best left to the real James Deans of this world.

The performance to watch is David de Keyser's Leon. He is a cynic who is painfully aware of his own cynicism, a man who realises the shallowness of the world he works in and the vulgarity of those he has to work with. He also harbours a genuine affection for Dinah which he can't express. He is protective in a way, but exploitative at the same time. He also envies Dinah's youth and spontaneous nature. When he says "maybe" he will join her on her next escapade, we know he won't and never could. It is a subtle and rather moving piece of acting.

Leon seems jealous of Steve's relationship with Dinah but, another of the films contradictions, there is no relationship. Steve is merely helping Dinah to reach her island. He is impatient with her shallowness and the way she seems willing to be distracted by people he sees as frauds (the hippies, Louis's ranch). The only time they kiss is when Dinah kisses Steve for the press cameras - just before he turns his back on her for the last time.

One of the film's other strengths is the photography, capturing the urban landscape of London's flashy new office blocks and the bleak winter countryside and adding much to the film's atmosphere.

This is a minor film - but compelling.
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8/10
Having a mild weekend
hbrix22 September 2004
More road movie than rock movie, CATCH has a surprisingly mature, melancholy tone for a British beat picture. That it has any tone at all is a tribute to director Boorman, whose characteristic fusion of the mythic with the ordinary is already evident in this his first movie, and writer Peter Nichols, who imbues the surprisingly engaging supporting characters with a quality of personal yearning and need for escape that spans generations. Boorman's preoccupation with water, rigorous yet dreamlike use of landscape and tendency to celebrate or at least acknowledge the antiquated are just as vivid here as they are in HOPE AND GLORY. Too detailed and ambling to be anything but opaque or irrelevant on video, I suspect.
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8/10
My First Teenage Crush!!
MrOllie24 April 2012
I saw this film in 1965 at a cinema in London when I was almost 16 years old. I always liked the Dave Clarke Five and for a time it looked like they may topple the Beatles as Britains top group. However, the reason this film always sticks in my mind is because I fell head over heels for the leading lady Barbara Ferris. She was the first of only three actresses in all my years of watching movies that I thought I was in love with. Yes my first teenage crush!! The film starts with the theme song CATCH US IF YOU CAN and off we go with Steve a stuntman (Dave) and Dinah a model(Barbara)absconding around London in an E-type Jaguar. There are some great 1960's scenes of London which transports me back in time bringing back memories. Anyway, out of London they mix with some hippies then meet a middle aged couple who live in Bath and eventually end up in Devon. All the time being chased by the rest of DC5 and also by some advertising executives henchmen. This is not a fully lighthearted movie as it has some sombre moments which makes it a little different from the usual pop group films. My favourite scene is when Dave and Barabara are walking and frolicking in the snow (lucky fella)with the haunting love song 'WHEN' being played in the background. Great stuff!!!
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8/10
the bewildered look of passers by
christopher-underwood11 September 2008
Richard Lester directed, 'A Hard Day's Night'. which came out the year before this Boorman classic and has cast a heavy shadow over it ever since its release. The fact that 'Catch Us If You Can' is a better movie matters not for, Dave Clark Five were not The Beatles. The whole look of the Boorman film is great, properly anticipating the changes in architecture and advertising and the spot on script by Peter Nichols, is faultless. We see the 'kids' gambolling about like clowns or tearing about in their mini-moke or jaguar cars, but always noticing in the background, at the end of the street, along the pavements, the bewildered look of passers by. Straight out of the fifties, with their hats and scarves and overcoats, properly reflecting that whilst the youngsters were pushing for something/anything in the early 60s, for the adult population, even of London, it was all more than a little strange, something from another world, that will soon go away. I remember liking this upon its original release and whilst connecting with it and considering it an exciting first film from a new director, it did seem a shame the songs weren't better and it was far from cool to admit any liking for Dave Clark and his 'bang bang' drumming. So the film has been ignored, which is sad, because now were both films played side by side, the Beatles film music probably wouldn't seem that much better. Another shame for me is that the lovely Barbara Ferris seemed to go down with the film too, here she has a lot of work to do playing off Mr Clark, who carries himself well enough but knows his limitations. See this film for its excellent picture of UK c.1964/5 and for the sheer joie de vivre and the marvellous free flowing cinematography.
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Pop music noir
phil-small13 October 2005
At last a new film genre--'pop film noir'!.The whole film is so downbeat its untrue-Dave Clark is incredibly negative,downbeat & generally 'fed-up' throughout, thats its remarkable that it got released at all,considering its niche-i.e. 60's pop music cash-in.Dave's performance is brilliant conveying a media star rebelling against the media web,overshadowing Barbara Ferris excellent portrayal as a woman who succumbs to the media bullshit.The end scene is achingly sad as Dave & the band drive off across the beach leaving her to accept being engulfed by the media throng.Considering that the film is 40 years old it holds up very well.
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A Harder Day's Night
rufasff1 June 2002
John Boorman's first feature, obviously thrown together as a cash in on "A Hard Day's Night"; shows his skill and promise as a director from the

get go. Dave Clark (of the Dave Clark Five) and a model who could be the girl George Harrison dismisses in the agent's office in "Hard Day's Night; take off on a holiday weekend across England as her obsessive manager trys to hunt her down.

In a series of scenes that seem halfway improvised, they run into aimless young people, uptight middle class folks, and others. The movie goes out of it's way to portray these people as, well, people and not "types", i.e. mods or rockers, hips or squares. There is a silly romp section around the roman baths at Bath.

The Dave Clark Five, the reason for the whole movie, are kept in the background even more than the Spencer Davis Group in "The Ghost Goes Gear." Only three songs are heard, but they're not bad. An interesting neither fish nor fowl entry, should be seen by British Invasion fans or fans of Boorman( I'm both).
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8/10
A mixture of blast and bleakness.
moran-7884520 April 2018
I remember what a big deal the city of Kenosha made when "A Hard Day's Night" played at the Orpheum downtown theater. "Having a Wild Weekend," on the hand, blew through the area before I had a chance to see it. I think I have watched the movie from start to finish maybe four times in forty years. I like the film but it's no "A Hard Days Night."

1) The Beatles were far superior to the Dave Clark Five musically by the time the two movies were released.

2) Ringo as a leading character is vastly more enjoyable than Dave Clark's moody Steve. 3) The Beatles played their film for comedy while the Dave Clark Five went for mood.

4) The 4 Beatles had distinctive characters while the Dave Clark Five had one leading man and 4 bland supporting actors.

5) A hard day's Night moves rapidly while "Having A Wild Weekend" drags much of the time.

However, I still like "Having a Wild Weekend." Dinah was a cute little number and Steve had James Bond-like qualities. The costume party scene was a rave. The hippies being rounded up by the British army was a foreshadowing of the near future.
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6/10
Dave Clark is a megalomaniac
Induswa15 November 2018
This movie could have been SO much better with less Dave Clark. Apparently Mr Clark was the Master of the Universe with all things DC5. He cast himself as one of the two leads in this movie and it suffers because of him.

He can't act, he speaks monotonously, his demeanor is dour and completely un-interesting. The young lady in the movie is good and so are the other members of the band.

Mike Smith has charisma and it shows. Rick Huxley is funny. He shows a natural talent for goofing at the right time. Unfortunately these two are not allowed to have larger parts in the film.

The script is ok. It's worth watching for the mid-sixties snapshot it presents.

But Dave Clark? Yeesh!
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5/10
intriguing comparison study
SnoopyStyle11 November 2018
This follows the footsteps of The Beatles who released A Hard Day's Night a year earlier. This is The Dave Clark 5 having a wild weekend. As early rivals of the Beatles, they are not as charismatic or as successful. As a rock band, they had a good run but can't compare with the cultural earthquake of The Beatles. Few can.

The plot of this is relatively uninspired but that's not the real issue. The guys live together in a flat. Dinah is tired of her shooting a meat commercial and runs away with Steve (Dave Clark) who steals the Jaguar from the lot. They have a crazy adventure.

At the end of the day, Dave Clark is not a big enough personality. I'm not sure if he's even happy to be there. At least, the other guys are trying to be funny. The girl is pretty with good energy. The Beatles were having fun with the camera. Dave's not having fun with the material. This is a fascinating music time capsule and an intriguing comparison study between one icon and one also-ran.
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6/10
Just split for a bit
bkoganbing19 July 2018
British rock band the Dave Clark Five gets to do its own version of A Hard Day's Night with Having A Wild Weekend. The film is replete with many of their well known hits of the day just as the Beatles' classic.

Front man Dave Clark works as a stuntman and the other members of the group are his flat mates. They have quite a pad too. While working on a commercial model Barbara Ferris who has become the British symbol via the ad campaign for meat just gets tired of it and she and Clark decide to just split for a bit.

Nothing more to tell other than this was the first feature film directed by John Boorman who would go on to do many more hit films including a favorite of mine Zardoz.

Fans of the group you will love this as much as Fab Four fans love A Hard Day's Night.
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8/10
Fascinating movie should be better known
cherold24 April 2018
Made as a vehicle for the Dave Clark Five with the intent of capturing the success of the Beatles' Hard Days Night, this movie starts out looking like a surprisingly stylish knock off but turns out to be something very different; a melancholy and sometimes lyrical satire or mid-60s England.

The band plays stunt men working on an ad campaign with it girl Barbara Ferris. While Hard Days Night was an ensemble, this movie soon becomes a road picture of Dave and Barbara headed to a deserted island. In rock-movie style they do wacky things, but they also find themselves traveling past rusted war machines and hobnobbing with stoners.

It is very much a mid-60s English movie, generally reminiscent more of Richard Lesters' "The Knack and How to Get It" than his earlier "Hard Day's Night."

The relationship between Barbara and Dave is neatly expressed in an early scene where Barbara imagines Gatsby-like parties on the island while Dave considers what supplies they would need. She is about the journey, he is about the destination, and his matter-of-fact manner contrasts with Barbara's poetic nature (at one point she says a deserted hotel "smells like dead holidays."

The weakness of Catch Us If You Can is that it wavers between a surreal and satiric melancholy and the wacky burlesque of scenes like costume part that runs riot.

While this feels more like a real movie than a band vehicle - unlike Hard Day's Night, which for all it's brilliance was a fairly plotless excuse for a bunch of songs), the band vehicle moments come through, most notably in the insistence of keeping the rest of the band around without every establishing their characters.

While episodic and uneven in tone, the film should be considered a mid-60s counter-culture classic.
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2/10
Are we watching the same movie?
Melm24 March 2006
Reading the other reviews is like a visit to Private Eye's Pseud's Corner. Come On. As someone who lived through 60s London I can't believe all the hype and drivel spoken about this poorly constructed movie. It's cheap and nasty. The sound is appalling, and yes, despite the other protestations to the contrary, it's merely a poor rip-off of Hard Days Night. It has no style, no panache and sweeping shots of London Traffic Signs is hardly art. Not even worth seeing it through. I thought "Mrs Brown YOu've Got a lovely Daughter" was dire. This is even worse. If it was supposed to be a witty look at the Swinging 60s then it failed miserably. If it was supposed to be avant garden, then who was the intended audience? I'm finding it hard to find anything more to share about this movie. I certainly wouldn't waste any money renting this piece of drivel. We caught it on TV and rather wished we'd not bothered. Save your time. Watch something else
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7/10
A Wild Week-end
DKosty1237 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
When I was a kid, this is the movie I remember seeing in the theater. I never got to see the Beatles "Hard Day's Night" on the big screen. That being said, I thought this was a better movie than some other films I saw at that age. It was definitely better than the typical beach movies the US was producing with Leslie Gore singing "Sunshine, Lolipops".

While I never saw the Beatles film then, once I did, I don't understand the comparison. "Hard Days Night" was about The Beatles trying to escape their rabid fans. The DC5 film here is more about having a wild week-end and trying to get away from the cops.

The theme song, "Catch Us If You Can" caught on big in the US as it went up the pop charts. I remember at one time owning the soundtrack vinyl album of this move, along with earlier stuff like "Glad All Over" and "Because".

This movie did pretty well in the US but the DC5 then seemed to run out of a stream of music here trying to compete with the Beatles and Roliing Stones. Then in 1966 the Pre-Fab 4, The Monkees hit the charts.

To me the most inspired moments in this are the costume party. It presents some pretty good light comedy. You can tell this is a British film because there are some scenes of Barbara Ferris at camera angles the codes in the US did not allow then. She looks and acts well in this film.
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Two movies in one...and neither are very good
nikatnyte29 July 2006
I went into "Catch Us If You Can" expecting a pallid DC5 rip-off of "A Hard Days Night." Well, it is that all right, but director John Boorman also reaches for something more by abruptly separating the two main stars (Dave Clark – inexplicably named 'Steve' -- and sunny Barbara Ferris) from the madcap Swinging London antics and plunging them into a existential search for meaning in a superficial world obsessed with celebrity. So there are lots of brooding looks on the part of 'Steve' and shallow ruminations on the pressures of fame from Ferris. On their journey they meet a pack of drugged-out hippies squatting in a military bombing site, a disaffected upper-class couple who adopt the pair as a sort of kinky project, and a man who operates a Western dude ranch in southern Devon.

To satisfy what few remaining DC5 fans were coerced into seeing this film, the rest of the rock group is brought in at intervals to dance and leap about. But their presence is never really explained. They're not portrayed as a rock group (their songs are heard on the soundtrack but no musical instruments are in evidence) but as 'stunt boys' who all live together in what appears to be a refurbished church/gym. There's a definite homoerotic tone as they shower and work out and eat breakfast together.

Oh, and there's also a subplot on the cynical nature of advertising involving Ferris' managers and his ad agency cohorts. The whole thing comes off as something of a mess, albeit a watchable one, with bleak shots of the wintry English countryside and 1960s London. A definite curiosity.
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4/10
Tedious
Leofwine_draca27 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
CATCH US IF YOU CAN is a kind of spiritual successor to the Beatles' A HARD DAY'S NIGHT, with John Boorman directing in pseudo-documentary style as he follows the Dave Clark Five on a kind of road trip as they work for an advertising company selling...meat. It doesn't sound very exciting and it really isn't, as the singers don't have really anything in the way of screen presence and their dialogue is constantly stilted and more than a little annoying. The saving grace is the presence of real actors in support, including the likes of Ronald Lacey, Clive Swift and David Lodge, but their roles are eclipsed by the tedium of the main stars.
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7/10
Interesting
mmca-214 March 2020
I was surprised in a positive way. In judging a 60s British pop film it's only fair to look beyond the Beatles at the wider canon and it contains some proper turkeys, stiff, cliched and beyond banal. Occasionally though filmmakers at least tried to be interesting and off-the-wall and this is one of those occasions. It doesn't always work and it's a bit flat in places but it definitely has its moments. The segment with the proto-hippies (or evolving beatniks) is particularly fascinating as a snapshot of a cultural undercurrent entering the mainstream consciousness. As with all films part of its appeal is in what, even unwittingly, the film shows us of the period in which it was made. As other reviewers have noted in that respect there are some revealing shots of of some very bemused members of the public in what is presumably London, all grey and very unSwinging. So not great but well worth sitting through.
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2/10
Plotless,pointless and boring
malcolmgsw21 January 2020
It is likely that the laudatory reviews are not unconnected with the fact that this was the first film of director John Boorman.Anyway apart from the fact that this is a rip off of a Hard Days Night the film suffers from the presence of Dave Clark who has the charm and emotional range of a speak your weight machine.This film is strictly for fans.
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