Friday, August 20, 2010
BE MY GUEST
This movie is the sequel to Live It Up, which I have previously reviewed. Be My Guest picks up with Dave (David Hemming) Martin's parents moving to Brighton Beach where they have inherited a guest house. They take the train, but Dave wants to drive his own car and plans to meet them there. Unfortunately, on the way his car conks out on him and he winds up taking the train the rest of the way into Brighton. On the train he meets a young American girl, Erica (Andrea Monet), who is going to Brighton to audition as a dancer. Her audition falls through and Dave, without the approval of his parents, brings her to the guest house as a non-paying guest. Even though Dave is going to work for the local newspaper, he still has a desire to be a musician; but his parents have convinced him that's not the career track for him.
We get our first musical performance in the movie when Dave and Erica are watching TV and we see Jerry Lee Lewis backed by The Plebs (whose members included Terry Crowe and Mick Dunford of The Nashville Teens and Danny McCulloch who would later join The Animals) singing "My Baby Don't Love No One But Me" I believe this is an unreleased song that can only be heard in this movie and I have included a youtube clip at the end of this review.
In the meantime, Dave's two buddies, Ricky (Steve Marriott) and Phil (John Pike), have taken a job in the food/beverage car of a train. They do such a bad job that they get kicked off the train at the end of the line which, of course, just happens to be Brighton Beach. Dave lets them stay in one of the guest house's cabanas, but this is against the law and causes trouble for Dave's father. They eventually wind up staying in the guest house....as you can tell, the guest house isn't doing very well, since it's just filling up with non-paying guests! Erica, Ricky and Phil try to help drum up business for the guest house, but everything they do seems to go wrong: from hanging a big sign that violates the local ordinance to Erica handing out flyers that are misconstrued as a come-on for sex.
A music promoter has come to Brighton to discover new talent with a plan to replace Liverpool's Mersey Beat with The Brighton Beat. The boys re-form their group The Smart Alecs and write a song called "Be My Guest" so they can enter the talent contest. The talent contest has been rigged by the promoter and his girlfriend, but the boys find out about the plan and foil the duo. Everything winds up on a happy note with the boys' song becoming a hit and the guest house being full of paying guests....who are all coming to town to check out The Brighton Beat.
The talent show part of the plot allowed for the inclusion of different musical performers throughout the film: The Nightshades do "Be My Guest", The Zephyrs perform "She Laughed", Joyce Blair sings "Gotta Get Away Now", and Kenny and The Wranglers do "Somebody Help Me" plus the Nashville Teens (photo above) sing " Whatcha Gonna Do" . It was a big surprise when the first group we see in the movie: Slash Wildly and the Cut-Throats (actually The Zephyrs), appeared on screen to see how much longer the hair styles were in 1965 than in the previous movie, Live It Up, which was made in 1963
Just like Live It Up, I really enjoyed this British Teen Music Comedy, with Be My Guest being a little more polished in its execution and plot structure. The commentary for this movie and Live It Up are the same on both discs. The commentary covers Live It Up for the first 45 minutes or so and then there's about 20-25 minutes of commentary about Be My Guest...strange setup...but a good commentary that is well worth a listen. I would recommend these two films to anyone interested in this period of UK music/fashion/teens and would also suggest watching both movies as a double feature.