Sunday, October 10, 2010
THE GHOST GOES GEAR
If you're wondering why you've never seen The Ghost Goes Gear, it's probably because the movie was never released in the United States (it is now available on DVD). Even though the movie is terrible, I'm still at a loss trying to understand why it was never shown here. My only guess is by the time the movie would have reached our shores, The Summer of Love had arrived and the market for a light-hearted comedy romp starring an English music group had passed.
The Ghost Goes Gear only has a plot for the first half of the movie and it's not much of a plot to begin with. It seems The Spencer Davis Group's manager is actually from a very rich family, whose haunted estate is going broke. A plan is conceived to raise money for the estate by throwing a benefit concert party. This part of the film is filled with bad jokes and a film desperately trying to copy the success of The Beatles movies (band traipsing around goofily, a madcap drummer, and even their own "old man"). At least during this part of the movie we get some good performances from The Spencer Davis Group as they sing "When I Come Home", "Midnight Special", "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" (with Stevie Winwood doing a great "Ray Charles" type performance), and one instrumental "On The Green Light". Sheila White playing the role of "the cute bird", Polly, sings a perky "I'm A Miss Fit" and we are also treated to an insipid song by "the ghost" Lorne Gibson singing "Like Free".
The second half of The Ghost Goes Gear has only a very small amount of plot and is mostly performances at the benefit concert. There are a few excellent songs during this part with the standout act being St. Louis Union who have two great rave-ups with "I Got My Pride" and "Show Me Your English Teeth". The M6, with dual lead singers have one really good song, "Seven Deadly Sins", but their second number, "The Place" was hard to sit through. Acker Bilk and His Paramount Jazz Band bring a little Dixieland to the movie when they perform "Henry The 9th". The other performances during this part were all shot like music videos and my understanding is these were inserted into the movie after the initial shooting was over. Sheila White as Polly wanders around a field singing "Switch Off The Night". David Berry performs two very odd numbers where it seems his main interest is in hiding his face, "Mama", while sitting in a tree, and "Now", while walking in a field of flowers. We are also treated to two more boring songs from The Lorne Gibson Trio, "Listen To My Jingle Jangle" and "Meddlesome Matty". I've been saving the best/worst for last, The Three Bells, comprised of a set of twins and their sister, do two songs, "No One Home" and "The Original Lemon Tree". There was just something so charmingly goofy about this mildly talented trio that I couldn't help but smile while watching them. I'm including a video at the end of this post, which includes both of their performances.
While The Ghost Goes Gear is worth watching for the performances by The Spencer Davis Group, St. Louis Union, plus one of M6's songs and, in my opinion, The Three Bells, the real treat is the commentary track. I normally hate and usually refuse to listen to commentaries; however, this one is done by Spencer Davis himself and British comedian Martin Davis. The commentary really gives you a lot of details into the British music scene of the time period, similar to the commentaries on Live It Up/Be My Guest. After you watch The Ghost Goes Gear, I would highly recommend giving it another go with the commentary track turned on.