Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Forgotten '60s British movies: Two Left Feet

TWO LEFT FEET captures 1963 in aspic as we follow our teenagers in that pre-Beatles, pre-swinging decade where everything is in black and white. I was 17 myself then (also wearing those popular striped shirts) in my small town in Ireland, so can easily identify with the guys here. Michael Crawford is the rather gormless, callow lead, looking for a girlfriend, or just sex (just like his role in THE KNACK in 1965, maybe the best known and most popular of these movies) but he cannot dance property - hence, the two left feet.  We see him initially venturing into the West End of London, looking at all the neon lights of Piccadilly and looking at the girlie magazines in a shop window before he goes to a nudie cinema to see some soft porn, popular at the time.

At work, he and mates (including David Lodge) are fascinated by the new waitress at the cafe they go to - she is the more mature Nyree Dawn Porter (playing 23 to his 17!), but she is intrigued by young Michael and agrees to go on a date with him to the local hotspot, 
where they meet smart teens David Hemmings and Michael Craze (both of whom were boy sopranos, Hemmings, when 12, sang Miles in Benjamin Britten's TURN OF THE SCREW) - here they are mixed up kids but Crawford and Nyree are soon doing the Twist and being part of their group. Nyree though wants to be with Craze as Crawford meets nice girl Julia Foster. Events twist and turn as Hemmings and his girl get married young (cue hilarious wedding scene with Uncle Michael Ripper), and Crawford and Julia finally get together, after an appearance by Bernard Lee as Crawford's dad who helps him see the light.
Hemmings and Crawford
Directed by Roy Baker from David Stewart Leslie's novel, it is an affectionate look at those early Sixties before everything began to take off a year or so later - these are real working class teenagers (as opposed to the types in say a pop film of the time PLAY IT COOL). It also captures that young cast as they too were going places - Nyree Dawn Porter in THE FORSYTE SAGA in '67, I saw Crawford in the 1966 play THE ANNIVERSARY though he did not do the Bette Davis film); while Hemmings and Foster were also in Michael Winner's THE SYSTEM, another key British 60s movie in 1964, while Crawford did several with Michael Winner, like THE JOKERS, then Antonioni chose Hemmings over Terence Stamp for his Swinging 60s London classic BLOW-UP, making him the icon of the age; Julia was one of ALFIE's girls - the nice one who gets married to his friend, she is also amusing in that Trash Classic ALL COPPERS ARE, as reviewed here .....(London label).

TWO LEFT FEET deserves to be better known, good to see it on dvd, and is a great London film, along with WEST 11, A PLACE TO GO, THE LEATHER BOYS, THE WORLD TEN TIMES OVER, SOME PEOPLE and BILLY LIAR (not exactly a London film)  - all from that era, see British/London labels for reviews.

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