This movie was released as Catch Us If You Can in the UK and released as Having A Wild Weekend in the U.S. I first saw this movie when it had its original run in the movie theaters. I could never remember anything about it, other than the fact that I had seen it. Also, having nothing to do with this review: I once saw The Dave Clark Five live. They put on a great show and it's the only time that I've seen a drum solo that wasn't boring. Usually, when the drum solo starts, everyone would know it was time for a bathroom break. This was definitely NOT the case with Dave Clark. Now, back to the movie.
Even though the poster and the trailer (see below) both mention drama, they both play up aspects that would leave you to believe that this is a similar movie to "A Hard Day's Night". Having A Wild Weekend (HAWW) is definitely not a clone of that movie. The Dave Clark Five (DC5) obviously didn't want to copy The Beatles and do a light hearted romp starring the DC5 as themselves and they definitely succeeded with this movie.
HAWW begins with the DC5 all living together in an old church and some of the action here is definitely reminiscent of "A Hard Days Night". However, when the lads arrive at their job, we find that they are all stuntmen working on a commercial. This is interesting since Dave Clark had originally been a stuntman before teaching himself to play the drums and forming a band to raise money for his football team. This makes me assume that Dave Clark had some input into the script.
Dave Clark's character is named Steve, but all the other members of The DC5 (Mike Smith, Lenny Davidson, Rick Huxley, and Denis Payton) have the same names as their characters. I really didn't understand why a movie that was made basically to promote The Dave Clark Five would use a different name for the band's leader. This just seemed very strange to me, especially since all the other band members went by their own names.
The plot: At the filming of a TV commercial for "Meat For Go", Steve and Dinah,"The Butcher Girl" (Barbara Ferris in a part supposedly designed for Marianne Faithfull), have a spot where they drive off in a sports car, instead of going back for another take, they just keep going. It seems Dinah (The Butcher Girl) has her eye on an island where she can get away from it all and Steve agrees to help get her there. Dinah's agent decides to use the event for publicity and tells the media that Steve has kidnapped Dinah.
Steve and Dinah meet some interesting people on their journey. The first is a group of beatniks/hippies who having been wandering the countryside and are now hiding out in what appears to be an abandoned village. When Steve goes to get the car, he sees an army storming the place. This at first appears to be a training exercise at an abandoned village, but the army rounds up the beatnik/hippie group and carries them off at gunpoint. I never fully understood how this scene was suppose to play out. I am assuming that the makers of the movie were trying to illustrate that if you try to live free, the government/man/whatever will stop you if they can. I may also be reading too much into this scenario.
Since the army has bombed their car, Steve and Dinah set off walking. They get picked up by an older married couple who at first appear that they are going to be sexual predators, with the wife after Steve and the husband after Dinah. However, it turns out, they are actually just bored with their humdrum life and are looking for a little excitement, which they get in helping Steve and Dinah outwit everyone who is chasing them. I'm assuming this was another point the movie was trying to make about everyday life being so dull.
Steve and Dinah do finally make their destination and Dinah finds that it is a disappointment. She remarks that the journey was the important part, anyway. It's revealed that she has pulled this same type of stunt several times and was only really interested in the adventure. It appears that she has feelings for Steve, but is more than willing to go back into her own life with all the new publicity her romp has caused in the press. This appeared to be the final theme, the importance of the journey, not the destination, fitting in with the U.S. title of Having A Wild Weekend.
While HAWW was making some of its thematic points as discussed above, it would occasionally bring the rest of the DC5 into the movie. Every time they show up, the movie then turns into a light hearted romp ala "A Hard Day's Night". The juxtaposition of the seventy five per cent serious side of HAWW, coupled with these twenty five per cent lighter scenes, made for a movie that really didn't satisfy me on either level.
After seeing it again, these many years later, I can understand why I didn't remember much about HAWW. I'm sure I went to the theater thinking I was going to see a madcap British comedy featuring the DC5, not knowing that what I was really going to see was a downbeat British drama. As a matter of fact, even now, my brain wasn't really that happy watching HAWW, since I had still assumed that it was going to be a mod/pop 60s comedy; however, I found out that I was sitting through a mostly dull drama. At least the songs on the soundtrack were good!
Having A Wild Weekend is currently out of print in the U.S. It is available as a region 2 dvd from Amazon UK (if you have a region free player). I purchased my copy from a collector's site.