The Young Ones (1961 film)
- For the 1960 Luis Bunuel film known in Spanish as La joven, see The Young One.
|The Young Ones|
Original UK quad format poster
|Directed by||Sidney J. Furie|
|Produced by||Kenneth Harper
|Written by||Peter Myers
|Music by||Stanley Black
|Edited by||Jack Slade|
|Distributed by||Warner-Pathé (UK)
Paramount Pictures (US)
|Release dates||13 Dec 1961 (World Premiere, London)
|Running time||108 minutes|
The Young Ones (US title: It's Wonderful to Be Young!) is a 1961 British film musical, directed by Sidney J. Furie and featuring teen idol Cliff Richard, Robert Morley as his character's father, Carole Gray as his love interest, and The Shadows as his band. The screenplay was written by Peter Myers and Ronald Cass, who also wrote most of the songs. Herbert Ross choreographed the dance scenes.
The story is about the youth club member and aspiring singer Nicky and his friends, who try to save their club in western London from the unscrupulous millionaire property developer Hamilton Black, who plans to tear it down to make room for a large office block.
The members decide to put on a show to raise the money needed to buy a lease renewal. The twist in the story is that Nicky in reality is Hamilton Black's son, something he keeps keeps secret from his friends until some of them try to kidnap Black senior to prevent him from stopping the show. Although he is fighting his father over the future of the youth club, Nicky can't allow them to harm him, so he attacks the attackers and frees his father.
In the meantime, Black Sr has realised that his son is the mystery singer that all of London is talking about, after the youth club members have done some pirate broadcasts to promote their show. So, although he's just bought the theatre where the show is to take place, in order to be able to stop it, the proud father decides that the show must go one. At the end, he joins the youth club members on stage, dancing and singing, after having promised to build them a new youth club.
- Cliff Richard as Nicky Black
- Robert Morley as Hamilton Black
- Carole Gray as Toni
- The Shadows as the musicians
- Teddy Green as Chris
- Richard O'Sullivan as Ernest
- Melvyn Hayes as Jimmy
- Annette Robertson as Barbara
- Robertson Hare as chauffeur
- Sonya Cordeau as Dorinda Morell
- Sean Sullivan as Eddie
- Harold Scott as Dench
- Gerald Harper as Watts
- Rita Webb as woman in market
This was Cliff Richard's third film, following Serious Charge and Expresso Bongo. Producer Keith Harper hired Sidney J. Furie as director and Ron Cass and Peter Myers as writers, and during a meeting in Harper's flat, the four agreed to pinch the story line of the 1939 film musical Babes In Arms, where youngsters Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland put on a show with their friends to raise money.
The film was originally intended to feature the Shadows in acting roles, but it was decided that the film needed more professional young actors, so roles originally intended for Hank Marvin and Jet Harris were instead given to Richard O'Sullivan and Melvyn Hayes, while the Shadows only appear as non-speaking band members.
A number of actresses were considered as Cliff Richard's co-star. An early suggestion from the Broadway choreographer Herbert Ross was a talented New York girl named Barbra Streisand. Harper flew to New York and saw her in a show, but didn't think that she was suitable and didn't even bother to audition her. Another early consideration was the German actress Heidi Bruhl, while Cliff himself in an interview expressed an interest in engaging the very young Helen Shapiro for the film. In May 1961 it was announced that a 21-year-old actress from London’s East End, Annette Robinson (aka Robertson), would be the female co-star, but within weeks the part was given to Carole Gray, a dancer from Bulawayo in Rhodesia (today's Zimbabwe), while Robinson was given the smaller role of Barbara. When Carole Gray sings in the film, it's actually the voice of Grazina Frame, who also provided the singing voice for Laurie Peters in Cliff Richard's 1963 film Summer Holiday.
Reception and legacy
The title of the film was also used for the British television series The Young Ones (1982-1984), which had many references to Cliff Richard throughout its twelve episode run.
The film has been adapted into a stage musical by John Plews, which premiered at Upstairs at the Gatehouse in London in December 2007. The stage adaptation follows the film story closely, but includes several additional Cliff songs. In February 2013 it premiered in Scotland at Eastwood Park Theatre in Giffnock, performed by the EROS Musical Society.
- The Young Ones at the British Film Institute's Screenonline
- The Young Ones at the Internet Movie Database
- The Young Ones at AllMovie
- "On the Set of The Young Ones 1963, by British Pathé" This 10-minute reel shows Robert Morley and Cliff Richard being coached for the fight in the bar. Also there are some excellent shots of a young Cliff filming various parts of the show that he and friends put on in the theatre.
- Notes and pictures of locations from Reel Streets website
- Article about the film by Bill Harry of the Liverpool music newspaper Mersey Beat