Brown stars as unemployed East End lad Alf Hitchens who has an on-off relationship with his girlfriend Marilyn (Maughan), whilst trying to sell a song he has written. But it’s Wilde who steals the show as roughneck Herbie Shadbolt.
Filmed in black and white, it mixes together a bit of everything that was popular during the early 1960s, from kitchen sink social drama to musical numbers, dance scenes, and street gang culture (and even a bit of racial stereotyping in the labour exchange-based musical number A Lay-About’s Lament).
The depiction of working-class life is as accurate as any kitchen sink drama from the period and the musical segments are great fun, particularly the highlight where the hilarious Freddie and the Dreamers turn up for a nightclub act where they sing about rhubarb and indulge in their trouser-losing routine onstage.
Michael Ripper appears in a number of cameo roles, complaining about the “bleeding kids”.
Those who like to watch vintage movies to see the locations will be extremely well-served by What a Crazy World as most of it was shot on location in London streets, so if you know the area you can spot where bits were set, and if not you can soak up as authentic an atmosphere as you can get.
Harry H. Corbett
The Common Man
Freddie & The Dreamers
The Happy Wanderers