At last, Catch Us if You Can available on DVD!
This wonderful film is John Boorman's first movie. It has a heavily documentary feel, as Dave Clark and a girl - followed by the group - escape commercial London and travel across the wintry wastes of Britain pursued by the advertising company who wants the girl back for their Meat for Go campaign. The film ends at the derelict hotel on Burgh Island.
Manny Wynn's photography is wonderfully atmospheric, and the stylish filmmaking that made Point Blank such a classic is evident here.
Peter Nichols wrote the screenplay and was not a little miffed when his friend Charles Wood revealed he'd got the job to script Help!, leaving Nichols with the Dave Clark Five. However, Help! has not aged well and, despite the Beatles' music, its sub-Goonish plot and humour is embarrassing.
Catch Us If You Can has fared a great deal better. It punctures the swinging 60s myth before it really got going, and as a film about lost dreams and hopes its bitter-sweet melancholy is very touching.
Ronald Lacey is superb as a stoned hippy living in a squat on Salisbury Plain (this film is 1965) and Robin Bailey (a great and underrated actor) and Yootha Joyce (much missed) are hilarious as a swinging couple in Bath. Dave Clark does his best to play the moody hero, but only ends up as a bit stilted, although this adds to his sulky charm. Luckily, Barbara Ferris adds much-needed vivacity to their scenes.
The film's ironic message is that some dreams won't come true. However, 40 years after it was made Peter Nichols should be pleased that his screenplay has lasted so well. Charles Wood later redeemed himself with the screenplay for The Charge of the Light Brigade, and several careful hoteliers have saved Burgh Island from destruction.