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Ghost Goes Gear [DVD] [1966] [US Import] [NTSC]

Spencer Davis , Steve Winwood , Hugh Gladwish    DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Spencer Davis, Steve Winwood, Muff Winwood, Pete York, Nicholas Parsons
  • Directors: Hugh Gladwish
  • Writers: Hugh Gladwish, Roger Dunton
  • Producers: Harry Field, Lionel Hoare
  • Format: Anamorphic, Colour, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: NR (Not Rated) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: 11 April 2000
  • Run Time: 79 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305797064
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 143,989 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Keep on Running' this movie 16 April 2004
About 15 years ago I was working in the pop music department of the BBC and researched many famous Rock Legends, including Stevie Winwood. As a result I stumbled upon this already forgotten movie which was almost unobtainable to locate a print. After eventually spinning through this I discovered why!
Cheese - of the highest order! If you like your 60's pop films with the most stilted dialogue, ineptly directed scenes and characters with embarrassing songs by unknown singers then this is for you!
The Spencer Davis Group are the centre piece of this pop movie which sees them trying to emulate in Beatles/Monkees type fashion their way into a 1950's Boulting Bros. type plot invloving Nicholas Parsons and Jack Haig. Parsons is weak as ever and Jack Haig reprises his Mr Pastry role. Spencer Davis and Peter York (drummer) are happy enough to goon around but Muff and Steve Winwood seem so stilted its hard top belive they wanted to make this movie at all. Can you imagine Steve Winwood in Morris Dancing mode, here you can see that!
Surrounding them are several 'pop' artists who I've never heard of (and I've worked in pop music for a long time!) like The Lorne Gibson Trio, The St Louis Union, The M6, and The Three Belles. Also seen are Acker Bilk and Mike Berry (The Crying Game) who has a great penchent for remaining mysterious by hiding his face as often as possible when singing!
Strangely none of the songs are well known, even the Spencer Davis Group only play one of their hits, 'When I Get Home'.
References to the Sixties abound (such as 'Banm the Bomb') and lots of swinging scenes exist with cheeky children and 'gogo dancing'.
The extras provide a reminicing Spencer Davis talkover which is great to listen to, well worth the price alone.
All in all, lots of fun, providing you like cheesy rubbish!
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mike Berry 10 Aug 2009
Mike Berry didn't sing the Crying Game, that was Dave Berry from Sheffield. Mike is best remembered for his Tribute To Buddy Holly and more recently "The Sunshine of Your Smile". He also appeared as an actor in Are You Being Served and Worzel Gommidge.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.1 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Morning After a Hard Day's Night... 10 Dec 2001
By Mark Savary - Published on
After the Beatles made it big with "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help", there were a slew of copycat movies cranked out by the music industry. "Ghost Goes Gear" is one such attempt to capitalize on the success of Beatlemania.
To be perfectly honest, I didn't want to like this film. Overall, I thought it was Monkees-lite. And any attempt at sticking with a storyline goes out the window about twenty minutes in. This is unfortunate, because the film would be far more memorable if the slick madcap weirdness of the opening segments could have been maintained. However, I wound up thinking the movie wasn't half-bad, for what it was.
Some have criticized the director, Hugh Gladwish, for letting the plot get lost, but I think he did pretty good with the rest of it. Visually, the film has some minor flair. The camera motion is reserved, yet fluid when called for. And I was struck by how sharp the focus was throughout the whole film. I also liked the Monkees-ish drum chase down the river in the opening segment, and the umbrella-march to Rowthorpe Hall. The Spencer Davis Group isn't too bad at Monkee-like mugging for the camera. The lads are pleasant enough, and do their best. The ghost is kind of funny, too. There is even a touch of Python in the proceedings.
Two personalities stand out in the rest of the cast; Jack Haig will be instantly recognizable to fans of the Britcom "'Allo, 'Allo!" And Nicholas Parsons is interesting as the uptight band manager, sort of a cross between John Cleese and Paul Lynde.
The audio commentary is more about the music scene in England at the time of the film, rather than about the film itself. This commentary was enjoyable, though, and informative. Spencer Davis and humorist Martin Lewis readily joke that the film was a black hole for just about everyone career-wise.
The Spencer Davis Group is not bad at cooking up the groovy tunes. The other acts are instantly forgettable, save for the Paramount Jazz Band which seems rediculously out of place in the movie (the commentary explains that, in reality, the jazz band fits for the era). And Dave Berry is just plain annoying with his weird, hide-his-face foolishness. Thank goodness he only has two songs!
The Three Belles are an odd act, too. As Spencer and Martin Lewis remark in the commentary, they appear to be the inspiration for Austin Powers' Femmbots. In their first number, look for the middle Belle, who is the only one who seems to know how to react to the camera. One gets the sense that the producers just lined up whoever was available, but not bigger than the Spencer Davis Group.
Of course, Stevie Winwood fans will want to see the film, but he really doesn't do much acting-wise. Spencer and Peter York do most of the work there.
There's no naughtiness whatsoever, so you don't have to worry if your kids want to watch it (not that it will hold their attention past when the "gear" concert starts).
This slice of the Sixties British Invasion will undoubtedly be more interesting if you're into the Spencer Davis Group or the era, but the movie really holds more significance for the British audience than for anyone in the US.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of nostalgic fun from the Sixties 29 Oct 2001
By Robert Huggins - Published on
You don't have to be a fan of 1960s "British Invasion" bands to enjoy "The Ghost Goes Gear," but it surely helps. In the wake of The Beatles' successful first film, "Hard Day's Night," there were a host of films that featured British rock/pop bands of the era including, among others, Herman's Hermits (in "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter"), The Dave Clark Five (in "Having a Wild Weekend," directed by John Boorman!) and this rarely seen 1966 film featuring The Spencer Davis Group that never even made it to the U.S. until 1999 as part of a film revival. While "The Ghost Goes Gear" is a minor effort, it's certainly a lot of fun to watch, sort of a British version of "The Monkees," especially during the first half of the film. The second half of the film features musical numbers by obscure British musical acts of the era, the lone exception being Acker Bilk's jazz band.
Fortunately, the film is played broadly by the cast, and Spencer Davis and his bandmates, brothers Muff (bass guitar) and Steve Winwood (guitar and keyboards), and Peter York (drums) acquit themselves nicely. Steve Winwood first made his musical mark with The Spencer Davis Group ("Gimme Some Lovin'," "I'm a Man") and went on to greater success as a member of Traffic and, later, as a solo act. Here, he's a very young looking 18 year old and is the quiet one of the group. While the band doesn't play any of its hits here (at least those with which U.S. audiences would be familiar), musically, they are the best thing going in the film. They perform a terrific, slightly country version of "The Midnight Special" that I found myself humming for several days after viewing the film. The other acts perform pleasant, but instantly forgettable tunes.
Anchor Bay has done their usual great job in bringing this rarity to DVD. The film is presented in the widescreen format from, reportedly, the only uncut print of the film known to exist. There's also a very entertaining commentary track featuring Spencer Davis and humorist Martin Lewis.
The "bottom line" on "The Ghost Goes Gear" is that it is an enjoyable, lighthearted romp that harkens back to the days when rock and roll was much happier and less angst ridden. View it in that context and you'll have a "fab" time.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star - But Fabulous! 14 Jan 2005
By Zirondelle - Published on
This movie is so awful you have to love it! I can't believe someone actually directed it - no...I can't believe that someone actually CHOREOGRAPHED it! What's with the dance in the kitchen with the apples? LOL! The "plot" of the movie is as follows: The Spencer Davis Group (a bunch of merry madcaps) have a manager who has an olde ancestorial home. His daffy parents have no money to feed the electric meter, so the group hatches the idea to exploit the "Elizabethan" ghost (LOL! greasy pompadour and all) to bring in tourists. They also ask tourists to BYOB - that is, Bring Your Own Band. The entertainment that shows up is ridiculously fantastic - Dave Berry who sings about his mama as he climbs down a tree in his Beatle boots, or hides in a field peeking through weeds while singing something called "Now", Polly, the maid, making wierd facial contortions and dance moves that can only be described as spastic,and The Three Belles - be-wigged homely gals who strike poses as they sing "Danger Zone" and "I'm the Original Lemon Tree"?????? There are other groups, but none so entertaining as these. I did enjoy the Spencer Davis group - I wonder if this movie embarrasses them now? Anyhoo, for a good laugh and some enjoyable tunes ("Midnight Special" "Nobody Loves You When You're Down and Out") this is the movie for you.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Ridiculous Movie Saved By A Wonderful Commentary 16 April 2012
By Robert I. Hedges - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Jumping on the "Hard Day's Night" bandwagon and featuring worse gags and production values than any episode of "The Monkees," the infinitely more ridiculous "The Ghost Goes Gear" follows the comedic exploits of The Spencer Davis Group in a haunted house. That's it. Even though that probably tells you enough to decide if you want to see it or not, more comments are in order. This was once a quite obscure film, but the fine people at Anchor Bay recovered it, cleaned it up, and added a wonderful commentary from Spencer Davis and humorist Martin Lewis. The film looks and sounds beautiful, and if you have ever wanted to see it, this will definitely satisfy you.

For a bit of full disclosure, I am a casual fan of The Spencer Davis Group and a bigger fan of Steve Winwood's later career, which is why this caught my eye. The plot begins when the group's manager invites them to his huge and haunted family estate, with his crazy mother and father and kooky servants in residence. Many shenanigans ensue: learn if drums float; see Steve Winwood push a wheelbarrow; get a load of some absolutely wretched physical comedy (particularly the painful "we're looking for a fish" scene); check out the groovy clothes; there's even a botany lesson and a pseudo-kidnapping (don't ask); and, of course, let's not forget the presence of the singing Elizabethan ghost with a guitar. Director Hugh Gladwish never made another movie after this one, and you will see why. (The joke on the commentary was that he had said all there was to say about the human condition here, so how could he top this?) Indeed, this became a dead end for many of the cast and crew members, although some continued on in sundry other projects.

Nicholas Parsons plays the manager, Algernon Rowthorpe Plumley ("Algie,") with vigor and understated panache in what is easily the best performance in the film, but nothing can really help the material, particularly given the directorial direction the film took. I had an especially difficult time taking Polly the maid's (Sheila White) endless mugging for the camera, not to even mention her singing and dancing (which makes Elaine Benes look positively graceful.) At least she's dancing to a Steve Winwood instrumental piece, so just close your eyes and enjoy the soundtrack. Speaking of the soundtrack, the film's musical director was John Shakespeare, who with his wife Joan, were largely in charge of the musical selections chosen. Interestingly, they stayed away from The Spencer Davis Group's hits, and went with more obscure songs from their then-contemporary set list, which is a mixed blessing. Some of the choices are tepid, while others are inspired: I especially loved Steve's somewhat country-bluesy version of "Midnight Special" which lyrically appears to substitute "Wooster" for "Houston," though even after listening three times I wasn't quite sure if it was his accent or a deliberate nod to the UK audience. Whatever the case, it's the highlight of the film. Understand, of course, that everything is lip-synched with no live playing present in the film. Not that it's a great loss, as the studio versions undoubtedly would sound better anyhow, but at least plug cords into the guitars. Speaking of gaffes, continuity was provided by Margot Vanderpant: watch out for minor but amusing continuity errors.

Sadly, most of the music is not provided by The Spencer Davis Group, and many utterly forgettable groups have their moment of fame singing at the concert at Rowthorpe Hall (actually filmed at Puttenden Manor, Lingfield, Surrey) when the plot degenerates entirely in the musical garden party designed to save Algie's childhood estate. This is, of course, just an excuse to showcase badly lip-synched cut rate pop songs at a haunted house. The good news is you can spot some really cool vintage electric guitars if you care. (It beats paying attention to the music itself most of the time.) The musical tedium is somewhat like a 1960s variety show, most of which happens in the courtyard of the home, though some artistically drifts further afield, which is particularly noteworthy in the wretched numbers from Dave Berry, who likes to hide in trees and behind things (note the oddest use of Queen Anne's lace ever in a music video....I hope he wasn't an allergy sufferer.) After acts like Acker Bilk, The Lorne Gibson Trio, The St. Louis Union (they get a lot of screen time,) The Three Bells, and M6 (yes, named after the English highway, and featuring a peculiar dual lead singer arrangement) have their say, the film ends in a decidedly silly and anticlimactic manner. If I had finished the DVD there I would have been generally disappointed, certainly unamused, and feeling profoundly ripped off from a musical perspective. I probably would have given the film two stars generously, and forgotten about it. Then I watched it with the commentary.

The commentary with the good-natured Spencer Davis, and exceptionally knowledgeable Martin Lewis totally made this movie worthwhile. Rarely has a commentary track been so much better than the underlying material: it was an absolute joy to listen to and was much more entertaining than the film itself. The two are very conversational, and recollect much about the film and people behind it. I was amused to listen to the discussion of Nicolas Parsons playing a pre-Python "Upper Class Twit" possibly inspired by Peter Sellers. Likewise the attitudes of the individual band members about the movie were insightful: drummer Pete York was wildly enthusiastic and was clearly the ham of the group; Davis was likewise enthusiastic; Muff Winwood less so, and Steve Winwood is described as the least interested in the project, which makes total sense given his subsequent departure for Traffic and career. The commentary frequently departs on wild and hilarious tangents such as Davis' good teeth and dental care regimen, a discussion of traditional Morris dancing (enjoy the otherworldly thread connecting it with the "Safety Dance"!), the history of speed limits in Britain, a recollection of Dave Berry as the most successful artist in the history of the Dutch pop music charts (!), and even a humorous analogy of The Three Bells as "an early 'Spice Girls' without the spice." To reveal more of their insight and wit would perhaps make it less enjoyable to hear firsthand, but believe me when I tell you this commentary is both fascinating from a historical perspective, and personally funny from a crucial participant in the 1960's music scene.

After watching the film and the commentary I recommend "The Ghost Goes Gear" to anyone with an affinity for 1960s music, and particularly for fans of Spencer Davis or Steve Winwood. The film itself is what you would probably expect from reading the first sentence of my review (maybe even a little worse,) but the commentary goes a long way toward redeeming this pop music oddity. Enjoy it for what it is, but whatever you do, don't stop without watching the commentary.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Director Needs Brain Transplant 20 Dec 2000
By John Robinson - Published on
No, that ain't the premise of this flick. That's what SHOULD HAVE been done to the director of this Grade Z film. The Spencer Davis Group is the only worthwhile thing in the movie and it's great to see these guys having fun, singing and giving each other sly looks like "this movie IS bad, ain't it?" Okay, so the ghost goes gear. They show this ghost once, for a few seconds, maybe twice. It has nothing to do with the plot....then the director fills up the allotted time with lame British bands that plod through crummy songs till the end of the movie. So why did I give it TWO stars? Because, bad film or not, it's still a piece of 60's nostalgia and it's fun to watch for that reason and to see the Spencer Davis Group (who do a terrific job). In comparison, it makes PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE look like STAR WARS.
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