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Extra info for The British Pop Music Film: The Beatles and Beyond
36 Good old Aunt Julia too. For Sue Harper the film ‘had a modern veneer … but the gender arrangements were old fashioned’:37 here again the film betrays uncertainty – its ‘in-betweenness’. Joan is entrusted with Charm’s business arm – but Harry has to forsake his studio work to sort out the mess when she is outmanoeuvred on Dene’s contract: she proactively declares her love for Harry – but then seems all too willing to stifle her professional ambitions and revert to the role of (future m)other.
61 Many of Parnes’ acts failed to find lasting success because, for all the arriviste’s energy in booking appearances on youth-focused shows such as Six-Five Special and setting up provincial Variety tours so dear to Steele (and his mother), Parnes never had access to the top-ranking entertainment circuit owned by Leslie Grade and Bernard Delfont, notably the London Palladium, televised every Sunday night to a national The Primitive Pop Music Film 33 family audience. Johnny Jackson is similarly second division, and Bongo knows enough to realise that he needs a ‘better class’ of management to become a household star.
Thus, from the bullish innocence of Tommy Steele, via the charismatic vacuum of Terry Dene, we pass through the ambivalent status of Cliff Richard as Bongo Herbert to the ‘jiving, drivelling scum’ of Serious Chargee and Beat Girl. The pop music social-problem film – Serious Charge (1959) Serious Charge again originated on the West End stage, but unlike Expresso Bongo it took six years to transfer to the screen. Philip King’s play premiered in November 1953 with Nigel Stock in the role of the Reverend Howard Phillips and Alec McCowen playing the juvenile delinquent Larry Thompson who falsely accuses the vicar of making a pass at him.