A film about the late fifties that feels very much like the early seventies mostly down to the presence of David Essex a pretty boy of David Cassidy proportions who could also act – and still does in Walford and beyond.
Genuine rock ‘n roll credentials are provided by Ringo Starr who in his youth worked at Butlins and on the pier in Llandudno before joining Rory Storm and the Hurricanes and other, more successful, Scouse beat bands along with a Mr Keith Moon who I believe slapped the drum skins for the High Numbers.
|Billy Fury in the Wondrous Place...|
I had written off That'll Be the Day as a vehicle for Essex rather than an attempt to connect with the youthful truth of rock ‘n roll transition. My early teen self was put off by the popstar and, now having finally got round to watching it, I can see that was unfair. At times the film feels like an updated Alfie with Essex’s character, Jim Maclaine, going through a series of uncommitted relationships with some of the prettiest actresses of the time without finding himself or a direction.
|The brilliant James Booth|
|Jim dreams in class|
Jim can’t concentrate on school and spends his time doodling while his best mate, Terry (Robert Lindsay) focuses on his studies. Both are bright lads set on university but Jim throws his books and his chances into the stream and resolves to leave home looking for who knows what.
|On the beach|
|Dave, Ringo, Brenda and Deborah|
Back to Jim’s chalet they go and – momentarily distracted by a crying baby: the sound of parental responsibility – his performance debut goes without a hitch and rather too quickly for the more-experienced-than-she-lets-on, Sandra.
Sadly he fails to heed his own council and ends up badly beaten by members of a gang whilst Jim just slinks away into the darkness leaving him to his fate. Bad deeds are rewarded as Jim gets Mike’s plum job on the merry-go-round and swiftly becomes the cock of the waltzer.
|David Essex and Sara Clee|
|The likely lads... Robert Lindsay and David Essex|
|Rosalind Ayres and makes eyes|
There’s something reckless about Jim and it’s clear that history may be about to repeat itself…
|Rosemary Leach and David Essex|
There’s a follow-up – Stardust – that has a lesser reputation and which deals with Jim’s later music career. – maybe I should see that to put this in its full context.
|Jim and his heroes|