Charles Byrd (Kenneth More), known as “Chick”, has spent his adult life acting in small repertory companies all over Britain and he’s never had much luck. Acutely aware that time is running out, Chick makes one last stab at finding success in London.
Cue endless auditions, lascivious agents, squalid shared digs and failed relationships as Chick searches for his defining role.
His flatmate Julian (Edmund Purdom) lands a starring role in a Hollywood movie and departs from their shared shabbiness in a Rolls-Royce. Chick, meanwhile, enjoys himself at the expense of former flame Judy (Billy Whitelaw) but quickly abandons her for new squeeze Fay (Angela Douglas), who he calls “Shrimp”.
Chick’s old friend Jack (Alan Dobie) is forced to give up the business by his pregnant wife but hangs himself when he cannot find a job to support his growing family. When his tearful widow Sandy tells Chick that an offer of an acting part has just arrived – too late – in the post, he selfishly rushes to the office of slimy agent Tommy (Dennis Price) to claim it for himself.
Chick – who snobbishly sneers at television work – is offered a TV commercial for a breath freshener. He does it just for the money but it is a raging success and he lands a contract for 26 more, achieving his fame, and fortune.
He is still unhappy, however, having compromised his supposed principles. At a celebratory party, he watches everyone taking advantage or being taken advantage of – including Fay – and walks out in disgust.
Although released in 1964, the film was actually shot in 1962. The film screened in many UK cinemas on a double-bill with Lord of the Flies.
Charles “Chick” Byrd
Fay “Shrimp” Trubshaw