Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1960s Wonderful Life (1964)

Wonderful Life (1964)

After losing his job as an entertainer on a cruise ship, Johnnie (Cliff Richard) and his backing band (The Shadows) are cast away in the Canary Islands where they encounter a film group on location. Johnnie is hired as a stuntman in a tale of a sheikh’s daughter and the legionnaire who loves her, and his friendship with timid leading lady Jenny (Susan Hampshire) has a dramatic effect.

The happy-go-lucky pop musical had been dealt a big blow in 1964 by the release of The Beatles‘ endlessly innovative and iconoclastic A Hard Day’s Night.

Yet the winsome formula continued to rear its sweetly smiling head throughout the decade. Elvis Presley‘s efforts became increasingly embarrassing, but there was enough here from Cliff Richard and The Shadows to suggest they might have enjoyed greater movie success away from the cloying confines of family entertainments such as this one, in which they rescue Susan Hampshire from tyrannical Otto Preminger-esque director Lloyd Davis (Walter Slezak).

The highlight, if that’s the right word, is a song-and-dance history of the movies.

A tiny part in the film was given to Miss Israel (Aliza Gur). Released in some markets as Swingers Paradise. 


Cliff Richard
Jenny Taylor
Susan Hampshire
Lloyd Davis
Walter Slezak
Hank Marvin
Bruce Welch
Brian Bennett
John Rostill
Melvyn Hayes
Richard O’Sullivan
Una Stubbs
Douglas Leslie
Derek Bond
Joseph Cuby
Senior sheikh/Scotsman/Harold
Gerald Harper

Sidney J Furie