Play It Cool (1962)

Play It Cool (1962)

Released: 1962
Genre: Drama, Genre, Music
Director: Michael Winner
Starring: Dennis Price, Michael Anderson Jr., Billy Fury, ,
Run time: 82 min
IMDb: 6/10
Country: UK
Views: 199753


Stars Billy Fury (Britain’s answer to Elvis Presley) and features cameos from some other stars from the sixties, with Bobby Vee, Helen Shapiro and Shane Fenton (better known as Alvin Stardust). On a plane is Billy and his band on their way to take part in a song contest, also on board is Ann Bryant, who’s been abroad by her wealthy father, to stop her infatuation with popstar Larry Granger. The plane is forced to return to the airport and Billy and his band persuade Ann to join them and together they search London’s nightclubs for Larry.
User Reviews: With 1962 being a strange time for rock ‘n’ roll in both America and England, it’s a wonder that "Play It Cool" is as entertaining as it is. British rock star Billy Fury plays an Elvis wannabee named Billy Universe who curls his lip and moans just like his hero, but exaggerates his hand movements to the point where he looks like a spastic Bobby Darin. When Billy and his wacky band members get stranded in London with an heiress who’s looking for her no-good boyfriend, they make the rounds of the city’s pubs and clubs, stumbling upon a place where a trio is singing the squarest music imaginable, then heading on to a spot called The Twist where everybody’s twisting (the latest dance craze when "Play It Cool" was being filmed, but stone dead by the time the film was released), then dropping in on a Chinese-themed restaurant called the Lotus Club where pop star Helen Shapiro is crooning in front of a phalanx of violinists. A visit to another club finds American teen idol Bobby Vee (who began his career as a Buddy Holly sound-alike) spooning drivel in front of another bank of violins. Through it all, Billy Fury gets to sing a handful of songs, including a sappy ballad, a twist, an uptempo number called "I Think You’re Swell" and a fairly good rocker called "Play It Cool." In other words, this movie is musically all over the place, because the producers were trying to please everybody at a time when the music was rapidly changing. To bind all the musical interludes together, there are lots of little subplots and shots of Billy and his boys running through Gatwick Airport and Houston Station (more than a year before the Beatles did the same thing in "A Hard Day’s Night"), but in the end it doesn’t add up to much simply because the music is so uniformly unmemorable. Billy Fury is a sympathetic presence, but perhaps the most intriguing artist in "Play It Cool," at least for Americans, is teenage star Helen Shapiro, who sings two numbers, including one of her singles, "I Don’t Care." America never really had anything like this bouffant contralto, unless you combine Annette Funicello with the foghorn voice of Timi Yuro. Helen is one of the most awkward performers I’ve ever seen (more so here than in her film debut, "It’s Trad, Dad"), and yet I couldn’t take my eyes off her strange beauty. Her career was fading fast by the time she appeared in "Play It Cool," but she’s probably the best reason to watch it.

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