Ah, the loosely-plotted “performance showcase” musical. This special brand of film is one that I have a love-hate relationship with. If the songs are good enough and the viewer is in the mood not to do much more than enjoy the tunes, they can be highly enjoyable. If the songs are sub-par or the film markets itself as having more of a plot, musicals of this type can be a total disaster.
It’s All Over Town (1963) fits into the “performance showcase” subgenre perfectly. (I’m not sure if there’s a legitimate name for this type of musical, so I’m going to continue to call them performance showcases.)
And luckily, the film does not make the mistake of marketing itself differently. With a run time of only 55 minutes, it’s impossible to go into it expecting anything more than musical fluff.
What little plot the film does have follows Richard Abel (Lance Percival), a stagehand at the London Palladium. Being exposed to the exciting lives of the performers who visit the Palladium, Richard daydreams about having such a swanky lifestyle himself. He pictures himself hanging out with famous people and strippers, and taking part in song-and-dance routines of his own. Through it all, he is accompanied by a buddy known only as “Fat Friend” (William Rushton).
Douglas Hickox (Theater of Blood) directs It’s All Over Town.
The music in this film is not exactly what I expected for 1963. Most early ’60s films of this type featured good old rock ‘n’ roll music. This one goes in a more traditional pop direction, with English crooner Frankie Vaughan receiving top billing. Also appearing are The Springfields (including Dusty!) and The Hollies. The music is for the most part very upbeat and fun, with a few sentimental numbers thrown in. if you enjoy mid-century pop, you’ll enjoy watching the performances.
The weakness of the story makes it difficult to pay attention to the film between musical numbers, but if you’re into any of the featured artists, the film is worth a watch. Worst case scenario, you can speed through to the performances without missing out on anything great, making it as though you’re simply watching a music special or variety show on television.
I love that the guy who directed ‘Theater of Blood’ directed this one as well…too bad he didn’t spice up the time between musical numbers with a little horror! And the poster makes it look like the film is rated ‘A’…I’m guessing it’s a British rating system, but if so, interesting that they had a rating system as far back as 1963.
And unless it’s just my end of things, it looks like there’s a paragraph or two of your review missing…the last one I see is the one that begins with ‘The weakness of the story…’. Should there be more?
I think that may be a rating — the British film industry has actually had a censorship board since the 1910s. Their ratings from this period are typically squares with a letter inside them rather than circles, but I can’t think of anything else that little “A” would stand for.
And nope, this is the full review, haha. Didn’t have much to say about this one since it was just a string of musical numbers.
Understood, on both counts! From my side of things, there was a big white space after that last photo, so I’d just assumed something was missing…but maybe there still is, because I don’t see your ?/5 rating for the film! Should there be, or was the film so bad it didn’t even merit one?
Do you have an ad blocker? There’s a video ad right below the photo when I look at it!
Lack of score not because the film was bad, but because I just didn’t know what to give it! I enjoyed the music, but it felt unfair to rate it highly on that when the story was so blah. But then at the same time, I didn’t want to downrate it over the story when it was clearly intended as a musical showcase haha.
I guess I’ve followed and read your blog for so long, I got used to how you wrote, and that last paragraph just didn’t seem to me like one of your normal wrap-up paragraphs! And I do have an ad blocker, but sometimes I still see a video ad there; that big white space must have been where the video was usually placed. So I guess what I’m saying is, from now on please put a big THE END in giant obnoxious fonts at the end of each review!
I will be sure to add a 72-point “The End” to every post from now on. :P I did realize while editing this morning that the ending seemed abrupt, but I couldn’t think of a single word more to say without being redundant.