The portrayal of teenagers in films has always been problematic. It isn’t the easiest time of life for anyone involved with a teenager/young adult or the teenager/young adult themselves for that matter. So, when they are dragged along to see a film that is supposed to be relevant to them, but misses the mark by a mile, be prepared for deserved surliness. One of the best examples of this is the flood of British movies that came out in the nineteen sixties desperately trying to latch onto the emerging market of the teenager. Most of the time the average young adult would more than likely want to be in one of the Cheltenham Nightclubs enjoying the music and environment with their friends. Given the choice this sounds preferably to saving a youth club, finding hats or even driving a double decker bus to Greece and falling in love with a secret American heiress while you’re doing it.
There are a few rules to early sixties “yoof” films. It has to have Una Stubbs or Cliff Richard (or both at the same time) in it somewhere. There has to be a series of impromptu musical numbers, usually done to save somewhere before it is pulled down by nasty a middle aged developer. This is usually preceded by all the cast looking dejected because of some difficulty that is immediately overcome when one of the plucky ensemble says the immortal lines “Hey! Kids! Let’s do the show right here!” regardless of the impracticalities that this brings to the logistics of such a venture. 3 of the most famous examples are.
- Three Hats for Lisa – in one of the thinnest plots ever used 3 young Cockneys decided that the best way they can enjoy their day off is to go to Heathrow Airport. When they get there they meet a famous Italian Actress who has clearly gone insane as she declares she wants to steal 3 typical British Hats. This madness is catching as they agree to help her and then burst into song at any given opportunity when next to a London landmark.
- The Young Ones – Owing more to the 1950’s than the Sixties this film sees the Cockney teenagers (and Cliff Richard) try and save their youth club from destruction by putting on a show. As luck would have it the Son of the property developer is a member of the youth club and after much moaning he suddenly realises he loves his son the singer. He has a go himself at singing and then builds them a new one in one of the most radical character turnarounds in cinema history.
- Summer Holiday – 3 cockney’s (yes, again) decide that the only way they can afford to go to Greece is if they do up a Double Decker Routemaster bus and drive it there. How they managed to get the paperwork to drive through then communist Yugoslavia is not recorded. Probably involved a song.