It's Great to Be Young (1956 film)

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It's Great to Be Young
"It's Great to Be Young" (1956 film).jpg
Directed byCyril Frankel
Written byTed Willis (story and screenplay)
Produced byVictor Skutezky
StarringJohn Mills
Cecil Parker
CinematographyGilbert Taylor
Edited byMax Benedict
Music byLouis Levy (musical director)
Marble Arch Productions
Distributed byAssociated British-Pathé (UK)
Release date
  • 1956 (1956)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office£282,838[1]

It's Great to Be Young is a 1956 musical Technicolor comedy film about a school music teacher, starring Cecil Parker and John Mills.[2]


Mr Dingle (John Mills) seeks to interest his pupils in music in order to enjoy life, while the new strict headmaster, Mr Frome (Cecil Parker),believes Dingle is ruining the children's traditional education.

Mr Dingle's pupils come up with a way to raise money by playing to crowds in the street and persuade him to help them. When this fails they decide to jazz it up and bring in some younger kids to help. This initiative is a success and, with the help of one of the pupil's parents, they are able to buy new musical instruments. The total cost, £200, is to be paid in instalments of £2.10s. per week which Dingle personally signs for.

However, when Mr Dingle ends up on the front page of the local newspaper, the headmaster locks the instruments up. The pupils manage to get them out of the locked cupboards, rehearse and put them back without anyone noticing.

Mr Dingle takes a second job playing the piano in his local pub for £4 a week plus free beer. However, he is spotted by one of the teachers who reports him to Mr Frome, who sacks him for it. The children protest about Dingle’s dismissal by organising a strike and a sit-in. Children from other schools also stand outside in protest.

Eventually, order is restored as Mr Frome relents and allows Mr Dingle to return. The children carry both out triumphantly to the tune of Top of the Form.



The song "You are My First Love" is sung over the opening scenes of the film by Ruby Murray. Released on record, it reached number 16 in the UK charts.


The film was one of the ten most popular films at the British box office in 1956.[3][4]

BFI Screenonline writes, "It's Great To Be Young! has a fair claim to be not only one of Britain's first teenage musicals but also one of the most commercially successful of any musical made in Britain during the 1950s – it proved so popular that it allegedly caused riots in Singapore. Its virtues are those of many ABPC productions of its era, from the vibrant Eastmancolor cinematography to the immaculately-selected cast and even if some of the sixth-formers are aged in their twenties, they do sound convincing as teenagers."[5]


  1. ^ Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p510
  2. ^ "It's Great to Be Young! (1956) - BFI". BFI. Archived from the original on 12 July 2012.
  3. ^ BRITISH. FILMS MADE MOST MONEY: BOX-OFFICE SURVEY The Manchester Guardian (1901-1959) [Manchester (UK)] 28 Dec 1956: 3
  4. ^ Thumim, Janet. "The popular cash and culture in the postwar British cinema industry". Screen. Vol. 32, no. 3. p. 259.
  5. ^ "BFI Screenonline: It's Great to Be Young! (1956)".

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