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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two films in conflict
Though he wasn't much of a musician (someone in Melody Maker once opined a list of the shortest books in the world would include Lessons in Drumming Technique by Dave Clark) Clark had aspirations to be an actor and this film (scripted by Peter Nichols, better known for his stage work, and the directing debut of John Boormanm) is a sort of road movie-cum-anti-advertising...
Published on 8 July 2009 by Pismotality

versus
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable romp but spoilt by bad sound quality
One of my favourite British films of the 1960s.

I especially love the "driving around London in a e-type Jag" scene near the beginning of the film, truly classic stuff. The film seems slower that I remember from my childhood, certainly when compared with Richard Lester's Hard Day's Night, however it is great to see Dave and the guys again after all these years,...
Published on 21 May 2010 by Satchmo


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two films in conflict, 8 July 2009
By 
Pismotality (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Catch Us If You Can [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
Though he wasn't much of a musician (someone in Melody Maker once opined a list of the shortest books in the world would include Lessons in Drumming Technique by Dave Clark) Clark had aspirations to be an actor and this film (scripted by Peter Nichols, better known for his stage work, and the directing debut of John Boormanm) is a sort of road movie-cum-anti-advertising satire bolstered by a cast of interesting character actors. It's got great period charm and, as other reviewers have said, it stands up very well - it's certainly streets ahead of many other low budget pop movies.

That said, you can see that there are two films in conflict with each other here: a wacky one with the group zooming around in a fun jeep (the film was called Wild Weekend in the US) following Clark and his girlfriend, versus a more reflective account of the emptiness of various values - beatniks, aristos, the advertising world etc. The remaining four group members are pretty redundant here except when the hero, seeing the model for what she is, is once more united with them at the end. So there aren't really personae fashioned for the group, as Owen famously did with the Beatles in Hard Day's Night: for better or worse, this is definitely a starring vehicle for one Dave Clark. On the subject of Clark's acting I'm undecided: whether he is playing "saturnine" as the more complimentary reviews have it or whether (as Alun Owen was supposed to have done for the Beatles) Peter Nichols fashioned his script around the perceived limitations of the performer, I don't know.

And as I know nothing about the acting talents of the others maybe their lack of involvement is just as well, but one real deficiency of the screenplay, rather than the acting, is that some parts are slightly underwritten: the Clark character's disillusionment with his old teacher is achieved in doublequick time, for example. But finally it's good to have a film which is trying to say something about the times rather than simply cashing in on a pop group or settling for a sub-Cliff Richard type movie with its roots in a Hollywood of decades before.

Incidentally, for those of a sociological/Media Studies bent this is Media Studies maven Andy Medhurst's take on the film from from the bfi publication The Celluloid Jukebox, an examination of the development of the pop movie:

"The fact that the Dave Clark Five were less well known and individuated
than the Beatles curiously enhances the film's impact; they're more malleable, more usable as iconographic shorthand for the liberating jolt of now-ness that permeates the film. The stock narratives and Rooney-Garland conventions that dogged the likes of (a film such as) Be My Guest are thrown away, the sociology of What a Crazy World vanishes in favour of pure semiotics. Even A Hard Day's Night had half a foot in
kitchen-sink naturalism, but Catch Us If You Can, especially in its first startling 30 minutes, goes all out for the shiny plastic immediacy of the moment. It is, in short, where the pop film becomes the Pop film."
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile, 17 May 2010
By 
Bernard J. Ryan "BJR" (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Catch Us If You Can [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
While not as creative, or as important, as the Beatles, Stones, Kinks , Who, etc of the British Invasion, the DC5 were certainly a far better band than people give them credit for, and sadly they are remembered for a handful of hits, which, whilst good, are perhaps not as good as many of the group's B sides, album tracks, some of which are lost classics and have been forgotten by time.
That said, their film Catch Us If You Can is also a better movie than most give it credit for, in some ways it is comparable to A Hard Day's Night. It certainly isn't miles inferior.
The soundtrack has a good selection of songs from the 1964-65 era of their career. It's amazing how good some of their instrumental tracks are, if you listen to some of their early albums, you'll find many of the songs that were selected for this film.
The early scenes are well photographed in black and white , and black and white suits the London scenes.
Later on in the film, when focused in the West Country in the Winter of 1964-65, I found myself wishing that the scenes were shot in color, showing the lovely wintry landscape.
The film sometimes has a serious edge to it , while other scenes, like at the fancy dress party have a slapstick feel to them . Like a silent film with inept cops chasing the naughty fellows. Lenny Davidson, in fact doesn't say anything, adopting a Harpo Marx type impersonation for his character.
Worth buying, and enjoyable, a debut for director John Boorman , who would go on to bigger things.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thumping great movie, 1 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Catch Us If You Can [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable romp but spoilt by bad sound quality, 21 May 2010
By 
Satchmo "Satchmo" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Catch Us If You Can [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
One of my favourite British films of the 1960s.

I especially love the "driving around London in a e-type Jag" scene near the beginning of the film, truly classic stuff. The film seems slower that I remember from my childhood, certainly when compared with Richard Lester's Hard Day's Night, however it is great to see Dave and the guys again after all these years, even poignant seeing Mike Smith so alive and well.

Unfortunately this version (or my DVD) is spoilt by a soundtrack that is heavy in sibilance distortion. The effect is most noticeable on the actors dialog and not so much the music (thankfully).

I've tried the DVD on several players all with the same result. Of course it could be that the original sound source
was poor and this was the best that could be recovered, but it does become annoying after a while.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual Sixties Pop Film, 27 May 2007
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This review is from: Catch Us If You Can [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
When you think of sixties pop films you normally think of the Beatles or Elvis, but here is a forgotten classic. John Boorman directs this unusual, downbeat film with sixties faves the Dave Clark Five.
Band leader Dave Clark takes the main role in this tale of a TV stuntman who goes off on an adventure with an unhappy model (Barbara Ferris). Their attempt to escape reality includes odd encounters with homeless people, a swinging couple and the nasty men in suits who track them. Despite what film guides say, this is not a high spirited romp, more a thoughtful film about how business controls the arts, how other lifestyles are available and how empty your dreams can be. It is far more realistic and challenging than the average lightweight pop musical. The locations are striking with Boorman using his flair to capture London, the countryside and the mysterious island in bleak winter time.
Dave Clark is good as the saturnine leading man, a brooding presence really. The rest of his band are reduced to supporting roles and we never see them actually playing as a group. Great songs make up the soundtrack, "When" being the highlight perhaps.
According to legend, Dave Clark retained control of the film choosing both the writer and director. The band's worldwide popularity in this period meant the American backers were happy to let him have his way. Although commercially successful in England, the film fared less well in American where it was renamed "Having A Wild Weekend". A better title to reflect the content might have been "Having A Weird Weekend".
If you fancy a pop film with a difference, then give it a go.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ahead of it's time - A forgotten masterpiece!, 31 Mar. 2008
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This review is from: Catch Us If You Can [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
Saw this on TV about 25 years ago, and liked it then, although didn't quite realise at that time how sophisticated it was. Some things aren't as good as you remember them to be, and other things are better - this is definitely in the latter category.

Catch Us If You Can was filmed in the Winter of 1964, and released in 1965. It is sandwiched in between the Beatles two classics, and this film begins very much in the style of A Hard Day's Night - quick editing, fast one liners, the boys leading a zany lifestyle, all living together in a cool pad - bit like the Monkees template. But it soon settles into something far more substantial in terms of the themes it deals with - the cynical manipulation of advertising, dreams versus reality, finding meaning and happiness in different lifelstyles, the travelling not just the arriving.

The journey takes our characters from the bright lights of London - with its rules and regulations - on a pastoral journey through Salisbury Plain, Bath and into Devon, ending up on Burgh Island, not far from Salcombe in South Devon. The island is a metaphor for following a dream , but it turns out to not even be a real island - it's tidal and is connected to the mainland - a comment on the way dreams can be so insubstantial come the morning.

The beatniks they meet holed up smoking dope in an abandoned village the army use for training purposes on Salisbury Plain was a revelation to me, given that this was 1964/5. It was an early capturing of what would be more commonplace by 1967 - really long hair and hippie styles and attitudes at a time when this would have been really shocking!

The cast are very strong - yes, Dave Clark himself is a little wooden - but there are some superb actors here. I found the locations really fascinating too - seeing England only 20 years after the end of the Second World War, looking pretty grimy and run down. And we certainly don't get snow like that anymore!

This black and white print is excellent quality. Altogether a real treat! At times it seemed like I was watching a French sixties film - great photography and scene setting, not over reliant on dialogue to move it along.

If you are a sixties film / pop culture afficianado I would certainly recommend. The Dave Clark Five soundtrack is pretty good too - the title track is as high energy as any Lennon song from 1964, and there are some good slightly Indian sounding drone instrumentals the band play at points through the story - again, ahead of it's time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange movie., 19 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: Catch Us If You Can [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
Badly acted (particularly by the band/Dave Clark). Strange caper movie/auteur piece. A curio. A time capsule. A couple of great large set-piece scenes.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How to make the swinging 60's dull, 20 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Catch Us If You Can [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
I was amazed by how positive the reviews for this film were. Up until now (aged 57 and with a few thousand films watched in that time) the worst movie I'd ever seen was "I will I will (for now)" with Elliot Gould but Catch Us If You Can puts that in second place. A grade A stinker! Clark is charmless, the plot is junk and if you've got a band that look and sound great when they perform music but can't act for toffee wouldn't it make sense to have a few scenes where the band plays and have them "act" less? Having a pop band film without the band performing once is idiocy and a lot of fans must have been bewildered at watching such a witless piece of junk. John Boorman deserves 20 minutes on the naughty step for foisting this awfulness on the world. Amazing that he went on to do the magnificent Point Blank a couple of years later - a GREAT movie.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Big Disappointment - I didn't get it at all, 2 July 2013
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This review is from: Catch Us If You Can [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
A disappointment. I guess I expected something on the level of A Hard Day's Night, since the DC5 was a big musical rival of the Beatles in the beginning of the British Invasion in America. It is not a music film, as AHDN was, and has no DC5 songs at all. Kind of hard to get through to the end. I hope the Herman's Hermits film I plan to get is better than this. I still am a big DC5 fan.
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3.0 out of 5 stars OK nostalgia, 6 Feb. 2014
By 
Mr. A. Watt (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Catch Us If You Can [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
It is difficult not to compare this film with the Beatle's Hard Days Night. Neither film has much of a plot, but the Beatles one is less contrived. For a music fan, this film is miserly compared to the Beatles one. The E-type Jaguar and Mini-Moke are probably the real stars.
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Catch Us If You Can [DVD] [1965]
Catch Us If You Can [DVD] [1965] by John Boorman (DVD - 2007)
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