Cult musical drama about a leather-jacketed rocker who forms a Shadows-style guitar band under the tutelage of a hip youth club leader, incurring the wrath of his old biker gang buddies.
Young Johnnie (Ray Brooks) displays a talent for playing rock and roll on the church organ, irritating the local vicar but impressing the church’s voluntary choir leader, Mr Smith (Kenneth More), who encourages the boys to bring their own instruments to the church hall so that they can practice together as a band any time they wish.
Johnnie is aware of his own talents but downplays them and lacks confidence in himself. Bill (David Andrews), meanwhile, is embarrassed by his own identity – he resents being called a Ted – but, at the same time, he fears losing it.
His anxieties and jealousy come to the fore as his friends embrace the step into the unknown territory of adulthood that Bill simply isn’t ready for.
This unlikely mixture of juvenile delinquency flick and promotional film for the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme is a terrific snapshot of teenage life in 1960s Bristol.
Having the film set in Bristol rather than London is a masterstroke, giving it an extra layer of authenticity, not least when the main participants wander around the department stores, cross the river, drop into a fish shop or have a drink in a pub.
The film also features a test flight of the Bristol 188 – a British supersonic research aircraft built by the Bristol Aeroplane Company in the late 50s.
An early film from director Clive Donner who would continue to capture the Swinging Sixties in films like Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (1967) and What’s New Pussycat? (1965).
Valerie Mountain dubbed the singing voice of Angela Douglas in the film.
Despite their 26-year age difference, Douglas and Kenneth More began an affair while working on the film, with More eventually leaving his wife and marrying Douglas in 1968. They remained married until his death in 1982.
Frankie Dymon Jr
Harry H. Corbett