Beat Girl

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rapta
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2014 5:04 pm
Location: Hants, UK

Beat Girl

#1 Post by rapta » Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:55 am

April 18th
BEAT GIRL (Dual Format Edition)
A Film by Edmond T Greville


A cult classic British film about late-fifties youth-rebellion set to an intoxicating Beatnik backdrop.

The film tells the story of Paul (David Farrar), a divorced architect who marries a Parisian named Nichole (Noëlle Adam), much to the displeasure of his teenage daughter Jennifer (Gillian Hills). In a bid to rebel Jennifer falls in with the London beatnik scene and a music-fuelled life of juvenile delinquency. Taking an immediate dislike to her stepmother Jenny goes out of her way to make life miserable for Nichole. When she discovers that Nichole is a friend of a stripper, she investigates and uses her stepmother's sordid past to embarrass her father.

With an all-star cast including David Farrar (Black Narcissus, The Small Back Room, Shirley Anne Field (Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Peeping Tom), Christopher Lee (Lords of the Rings, Dracula) and a young Oliver Reed (Gladiator, Oliver!), the film is notable for its original music by composer John Barry, his first film commission, and the debut appearance of teen idol Adam Faith. Actress Gillian Hills went on to work with Antonioni (Blow Up) and Stanley Kubrick (A Clockwork Orange) and was the star of the cult television series The Owl Service.

Special features
  • Alternate UK version of Beat Girl
  • Newly filmed interview with actress Gillian Hills
  • Cross-Roads (John Fitchen, 1955, 22 mins): a short supernatural tale starring Christopher Lee
  • Goodnight with Sabrina
  • Beauty in Brief
  • Screen Test
  • Illustrated booklet

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Paul Moran
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:06 pm
Location: UK

Re: Beat Girl (Greville)

#2 Post by Paul Moran » Thu Jan 28, 2016 4:57 pm

I might just get this one, in due course! I have an off-air DVD-R made in Jan 2008, but it was from a (4:3) letterbox broadcast in an odd aspect ratio (measured as 1.53:1). OAR is 1.66:1, according to IMDB.

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colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: Beat Girl (Greville)

#3 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Jan 28, 2016 5:06 pm

Fantastic! I've been fond of this film ever since seeing it on its first (and so far only) TV showing in the BBC's 1995 "Forbidden Weekend" of controversial films, sandwiched in between The Night Porter and Performance! (That was an eye-opening evening of viewing!). If you want a brief clip of the film, the fantastic John Barry-scored title sequence is up on YouTube, although be warned that it contains perhaps the most disturbing image I remember seeing in the whole of that "Forbidden Weekend": the spectacle of Oliver Reed dancing!

The "Alternate UK version" of the film is likely going to be around the different versions of the scene in which Gillian Hills goes to Christopher Lee's strip club and we get a couple of scenes of the girls doing their acts!

I was not able to find Alex Cox's introduction to Beat Girl on YouTube, so thought I'd transcribe it here:
Alex Cox wrote:George Minter presents a George Willoughby production, with David Farrar, Noelle Adam and Christopher Lee. Co-starring Adam Faith and introducing Gillian Hills. With music by John Barry. Featuring the John Barry Seven. Directed by Edmond T. Greville: Beat Girl!

Beat Girl is a British film made in 1959. It is decidedly a B-picture, exploiting a variety of current concerns: prostitution, juvenile delinquency, beatniks, jazz music, French women and coffee bars. It has no plot, but a lot of energy and invention. The staid architect hero - if he is the hero, it is very hard to tell - has designed a model utopia called "City 2000" which is to be surrounded by skyscraper-sized giant concrete baffles to deaden sound. In the coffee bar, the hapless Pinky Ross is attempting to beat the world long-distance drumming record. Whenever Adam Faith bursts into song, his voice is amplified by an invisible mobile echo chamber and supported by an invisible rock and roll band. Almost every woman is a blonde, and the bicycle pumps are working overtime in the wardrobe department.

Beat Girl is utterly stupid in fact, but also very entertaining and enjoyable. It is worth a dozen "Legends of the Fall" or "Nell"s because it is actually funny and has real verbal verve. Check out the plethora of fantastic 50's epigrams:

"Love? That's the gimmick that makes sex respectable!"
"He sends me...over and out!"
"Next week *Boom!* the world goes up in smoke, and what's the score? Zero"
"You've gotta live for kicks, its all you've got"
"Great, Dad, great! Straight from the fridge! Way out! "
"Get out of here you jiving, dribbling scum!"

I guess Beat Girl ran into trouble with the censors for two reasons: the JDs (juvenile delinquents), and the strip club scenes. The JDs are by 90s standards incredibly wimpy - not a gun or knife among them, and gang boss Adam Faith doesn't even allow drinking. Faith is pretty good actually, a better actor than most of the professionals, and somewhat complex. He threatens to beat the Beat Girl up at one point. But when he is outnumbered by Teddy Boys who smash his car and guitar, he declares: "I don't fight, its for squares". Peter McEnery and Shirley Ann Field appear as members of his self-pitying, tee-total gang. A waif-like Oliver Reed is in there dancing too.

Most of the strip tease sequences are rubbish, bar one: an extraordinarily hot dance number here restored for the first time. If videotaping films off air were legal, the viewer would be well advised to stick a tape in the VCR, if only to possess Dail Ambler's priceless dialogue and the one outstanding exotic dance scene. It's straight from the fridge, Dads! Way out!
I'd only add to that that it has a fascinating dynamic between the our lead teen girl and her sexy new French stepmother. It is the rare film when the older generation are almost beating the experimenting kids at their own game, which is sort of driving the teens to wilder extremes in response!
Last edited by colinr0380 on Thu Jan 28, 2016 8:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

Re: Beat Girl (Greville)

#4 Post by HerrSchreck » Thu Jan 28, 2016 5:54 pm

This is a wild, fabulous film. Our flixish Mr. Hare is a great devotee of this film. Kino had it on DVD for the better part of the Aughts . . . nice to see it resurrected in HD.

I guess so far Kino (at least as a result of my very cursory search for a North American BD) has not seen fit to bring it out in hi def. Although with this new master . . . who knows.

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Alphonse Tram
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:32 am

Re: Beat Girl (Greville)

#5 Post by Alphonse Tram » Fri Jan 29, 2016 5:00 am

colinr0380 wrote:Fantastic! I've been fond of this film ever since seeing it on its first (and so far only) TV showing in the BBC's 1995 "Forbidden Weekend" of controversial films, sandwiched in between The Night Porter and Performance! (That was an eye-opening evening of viewing!). If you want a brief clip of the film, the fantastic John Barry-scored title sequence is up on YouTube, although be warned that it contains perhaps the most disturbing image I remember seeing in the whole of that "Forbidden Weekend": the spectacle of Oliver Reed dancing!

For what it's worth, it's been screened a number of times on Talking Pictures TV fairly recently.

I echo the comments about the John Barry music, really great pulsating twangy guitar action - the signature sound of The John Barry Seven, with guitar hero Vic Flic providing his unmistakable twangy guitar, soon to be heard on the James Bond theme.

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starmanof51
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 3:28 am
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Re: Beat Girl (Greville)

#6 Post by starmanof51 » Fri Jan 29, 2016 1:16 pm

Shirley Anne Field singing "It's Legal". This stuff is hard to beat.

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colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: Beat Girl (Greville)

#7 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Jan 29, 2016 1:37 pm

Its good to hear that Beat Girl is getting more regular screenings! Inspired to watch it again last night I was amazed all over again at this film's gobsmacking equivalent of the Rebel Without A Cause 'chicken' scene, which in Beat Girl involves two car loads of teens gleefully leaping from their vehicles and laying with their heads resting on train tracks as a locomotive roars towards them! I do love the ending of that scene too:
SpoilerShow
as Gillian Hills' Jennifer waits out all of the other guys until she is the last one standing (or lying!) with the train inches from her head, then calmly sits upright at the last moment and we get a gorgeous shot from behind, looking at the character's back as the train zooms past in front of her and she looks slightly to one side, impassive yet victorious, her hair being blown in the breeze.
Its the kind of moment that of course is completely impractical (not to mention suicidally dangerous!) in real life, but is absolutely perfect for the heightened plane of reality that this film is working on.

Orlac
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:29 am

Re: Beat Girl (Greville)

#8 Post by Orlac » Sun Jan 31, 2016 7:55 am

Great news!

The other Greville/Lee collaboration that intrigues me is The Hands of Orlac. Would love to see a release - don't know who owns it though.

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NABOB OF NOWHERE
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2005 12:30 pm
Location: Brandywine River

Re: Beat Girl (Greville)

#9 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Sun Jan 31, 2016 8:19 am

Would also be great to see 'Loose' upgraded . Along with 'Night and the City' and 'They made me a fugitive' (A bfi restoration) these would make a great spiv-culture trilogy.

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Ashirg
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:10 am
Location: Atlanta

Re: Beat Girl (Greville)

#10 Post by Ashirg » Wed Apr 20, 2016 2:48 pm


McCrutchy
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 4:57 am
Location: East Coast, USA

Re: Beat Girl (Greville)

#11 Post by McCrutchy » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:20 pm

Based on a few of those caps, I feel I am making a wise blind buy with this one.

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