from a screenplay by Norman Bogner
Pan, London, 1967
The blurb on the back:
PAUL JONES and JEAN SHRIMPTON star in the new, controversial film from UNIVERSAL PICTURES.
The idea of a rock star being perceived as a religious leader by his devoted followers is a long-standing one: the field includes such diverse entries as The Who's Tommy, Bowie's Leper Messiah (inspired by the real-life nutter Vince Taylor) and Greil Marcus' Dead Elvis.
Here's an early attempt, a British movie in which a pop star is turned into a religious figure by the forces of the State and the Church in an attempt to control his fans. Not a startlingly original project, then, but the provenance is unusual. The screenplay was by Norman Bognor and director Peter Watkins (later to give us The War Game), and was based on a story by, of all people, Johnny Speight, of Alf Garnett fame.
The film itself is pretty dire, since it stars the grammar school blues singer Paul Jones and Jean Shrimpton, who wasn't the most gifted thespian of her generation, but - and here's a surprise - the novel ain't bad at all. It was adapted by John Burke, who also did the honours for Dr Terror's House of Horrors and Till Death Us Do Part, and it turns out he's good fun; this, for example, is him on the backing group: 'Their hair shouldn't have happened to a dog.'
There's a bit too much of an attitude of 'tut, look at the state of this pop business', but it's still worth a look.
Paul Jones arrested for
crimes against music
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 2/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT: 2/5
from the maker of...
King & Castle
Hammer Horror Film Omnibus
Dr Terror's House of Horrors
Till Death Us Do Part