Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 2, 2017


Cliff Richard
WONDERFUL LIFE (aka Swingers' Paradise/1964). Director: Sidney J. Furie.

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.


angelman66 said...

Have not heard of this one but definitely worth a look. Love British pop of the 1960s!

William said...

Glad to hear it -- More to come in this genre!

angelman66 said...

Just saw that Sidney J. Furie directed it - my favorite of his films is Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues - a movie I need to see again soon too!!

William said...

Yes, I remember liking that film years ago, and thinking that Ross was quite good ..