Johnnie (Cliff Richard) and his pals (The Shadows) survive a ship wreck and wind up in the desert, where director Lloyd Davis (Walter Slezak of Lifeboat) is making a picture. The nervous, inexperienced star, Jenny (Susan Hampshire) is treated badly by Davis, who happens to be his daughter, a fact she wants kept secret. Originally hired to be a stunt double for the male lead, Johnnie and his buddies decide to secretly film the same movie on the same sets, but with him as the lead and a less nervous (if unaware) Jenny playing her same role. The longest sequence is a tribute to the movies in which there are spoofs of everything from Charlie Chaplin and the Marx Brothers to Dr. No and West Side Story. Wonderful Life isn't a very memorable movie (some of the songs are pleasant but forgettable) but it is handsomely produced, Slezak gives a very good performance, and Richard and Hampshire have a surplus of charm. Richard and the Shadows were very, very popular in England but they never caught on in the U.S. This is the last of a trio of films they appeared in. If not quite the British Elvis, Richard was still quite talented.
Verdict: British pop musical with some good sequences. **1/2.