Thursday, 27 July 2017

745 The Beginner's Guide To Absolute Beginners

First  viewed  : 29  March  1986

Oh  yes,  you  couldn't  get  away  from  the  desperate  hype  surrounding  the  release  of  this  film. Its  makers,  Goldcrest  Films,  had  been  hit  for  six  by  the  box  office  disaster  that  was  Revolution  and  the  whole  future  of  the  British  film  industry  was  seen  to  rest  on  the  success  of  Julian  Temple's  musical  version  of  the  Colin  McInnes  novel  of  teenage  London  in  the  late  fifties  much  loved  by  the  mods  ( hence  The  Jam's  1981 hit  of  the  same  name ). The  media  obligingly  gave  it  saturation  coverage  including  this  short  documentary  on  ITV.

Unsurprisingly, the  film  failed  to  live  up  to  expectations. Much  of  the  music  was  anachronistic, an  eighties  version  of  what  fifties  jazz  was  like  from  Sade  and  The  Style  Council, in  other  words  the  film  was  promoting  the  new  jazz / anti-rock   movement  which  had  already  passed  its  peak  by  1986. It  was  also  too  London-centric , finding  parts  for  the  likes  of  Ray  Davies  and  Mandy  Rice-Davies  and  giving  the  main  female  role  to  a  far  too  young  Patsy  Kensit. The  male  lead  was  unknown  Eddie  O  Connell  who  couldn't  carry  the  film.

Temple  fled  to  America  and  Goldcrest  went  belly  up  but  then   the  little-hyped  Mona  Lisa  came  along  and  the  industry  wasn't  so  dead  after  all.

1 comment:

  1. This was a right load of old guff, but Temple certain rehabilitated himself in my eyes with a superb series of documentaries about the Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer and Dr Feelgood/Wilko.