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Toomorrow (1970)

Long before her Grease (1978) and Xanadu (1980) starring roles, Olivia Newton-John starred in this bizarre flick as lead singer with a groovy British pop band called Toomorrow, whose lightweight pop tunes draw the attention of music-hungry aliens, the Alphoids.

The group consisted of 21-year-old Olivia, English keyboard player Vic Cooper (25), American drummer Karl Chambers (22) and Ben Thomas (24). Originally Chris Slade (who went on to play drums in AC/DC) was to be a member of the group, but he was replaced by Karl Chambers before filming began.

John Williams is an Alphoid disguised as a human being who has been on Earth for thousands of years – most recently working as an anthropologist.

John is unhappy with his work as an observer on Earth and feels he is wasted on “a planet that prays for peace and makes war to obtain it”.

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He is given a new assignment: to investigate a remarkable and powerful vibration that has been discovered on Earth by the Alphoid Galactic Control. Its power is apparently curative, not destructive, and as a growing malady in space is sterility of sound, John is given the job of tracking down the source.

He eventually tracks it to a tonaliser, a weirdly constructed amplifier that young music student, Vic, has built to his own specification.

Vic is one of the group of four studying at the London College of Arts.

They all live in Chelsea where Olivia acts as “den mother” and chaperone to the other three, Karl, Ben and Vic. To finance their studies they form a pop group called Toomorrow, but when it seems that they are making headway in their musical careers with a guest appearance at a pop festival at the Round House, personal problems beset the quartet.

Turbulent days also exist at the College when the students demand participation in the administration. The students vote for a sit-in, which develops into a dance-in.

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John offers the group facilities to rehearse in the conservatory of his Hampstead home. After one groovy session, the group are just leaving when a beam whisks them up to a waiting Alphoid spacecraft, along with their musical instruments and Vic’s tonaliser.

Toomorrow are instructed to educate the space people, as Astral music has lost its potency. Emotion and soul is lacking in the Alphoids’ computerised music. The Alphoids soon realise that Toomorrow are unhappy with their environment and predicament and allow the group to escape back to earth.

Matthew (a young admirer of Olivia and leader of the Student Action Committee) is instrumental in settling the differences between the students and the Administration at the London College of Arts, but the agreed compromise antagonises the staff who decide to use the same tools as the students and organise a lock-out.

With only hours before they are to make their important debut at the Round House, Tomorrow discover their instruments are locked inside the college. Using his masculine charm on Dr Suzanne Gilmore, the attractive doctor of music – and one of his many girlfriends – Ben instigates the retrieval of the instruments.

A hectic car chase ensues across London to the Round House, by which time each of the group has attracted a roadie. Vic has the serious ballet student and pop convert, Amy; Olivia has brought along Matthew; Karl has become attracted to Sylvana; and Ben has several girls in tow, including Suzanne and Francoise.

The group soon have the place grooving and swinging, and since their environment is now ideal the Alphoids beam Toomorrow back up to space.

Toomorrow was the product of James Bond producer Harry Saltzman and Monkees music svengali Don Kirshner, although Kirshner distanced himself from the project after its release, refusing to allow the movie to be shown again during his lifetime (he passed away in January 2011).

The band created for the film released a self-titled LP and two singles – I Could Never Live Without Your Love and You’re My Baby Now.

Olivia
Olivia Newton-John
Alpha

Roy Marsden
Amy

Imogen Hassall
John Williams

Roy Dotrice
Karl

Karl Chambers
Vic

Vic Cooper
Benny

Ben Thomas

Director
Val Guest