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Dateline Diamonds is a Diamond
on 13 April 2003
I originally went to see in the 1960s along with Doctor in Clover. It was shot in black and white and the attraction to a 13year old lad was the fact that the story line was based loosely around his favourite offshore station Radio London.
In terms of a DVD it is not packed to the hilt with extras. It has a simple menu which enables you to view the entire film or separate scenes. It does at least enable you to get to the film without spending an eternity for the restriction notices and film company logos to display. I do think that the manufacturers of DVDs should let you skip the main titles. It is a clear black and white film. The company that produced it is called DD Video and they are located about four to five miles away from the Waffler. It is ironical I had to wait so long for something which was produced on my doorstep.
The film has several clips of the MV Galaxy at sea and the cast transferring to it from Offshore 1 and 2. The Offshore boats were the tenders for the stations which were anchored off the Frinton Essex Coast in the 1960s. The deejay Dale Meredith who has a medium sized part in the film is a young cheery faced actor with a glint in his eye. Sitting at the turntables on board and also standing on stage, he does not look authentic. The glory moment is when he leaves the studio and goes into the sound cubicle and speaks to Kenny Everett. Throughout this film one is reminded that people in pop wore smart clothes, occasionally suits, and almost always jackets.
The film is very dated and extremely low budget. I enjoyed it immensely all the same. Without giving away too much it is about somebody who finds a way of using the Small Faces pop group as a cover for smuggling stolen diamonds out of the country via the Radio London ship.
I am convinced that the ballroom that features in the film is in Watford Hertfordshire. The pond and the timber frames on the side of nearby buildings give it away. I believe in the film it is intended to be somewhere in Essex.
The first thing that struck me was the face and voice of Lester Benson, the manager of the Small Faces in the film. I have just checked it out and it is none other than Ray Hilton who has been in the soap opera in the UK called Brookside. If you are not a soap opera afficiando he was also Marty Hopkirk in Randall and Hopkirk. He also had a starring role in That was the Week That was. He has had a very successful professional career as writer and performer. He created Striker and wrote The Squirrels and Thinumybob. He has guested in Last of the Summer Wine, Bergerac, Touch of Frost, Doctor Who and the Avengers and many more television programmes. He played Norman in Rumpole of the Bailey.
Mrs Edgecombe who is played by Patsy Rowlands is one of the Carry On film cast and plays here role as a witness to the crime in Hatton Garden comically. Well that is how it looked to me.
The music in the film is not particularly good or bad. The Small Faces appear singing a song I do not remember, and Stevie Marriott looks so incredibly young. I found the group the Chantelles so incredibly dated. Just wait until you see them visit Big L ship and walk into the studio with Dusty Springfield hair-dos and embroidered trouser suits with A-shaped tunic tops. Coupled with the false eyelashes and smiles and pouting lips, balanced by the grins of the fake deejay Dale Meredith I was rolling in my seat with laughter. We do get to see Kiki Dee singing a simple ballad in the film - and the black and white reveals her teenage complexion a treat!
Major Fairclough, the baddie in the film, refers to a photocopy as a photostat. The police car is a Morris Oxford with a ringing bell. Another not to miss section is near the end when the CID officer and man from Dutch police stand outside the ball room with an oversize walkie talkie. None of this film is intended to be funny, maybe light hearted, but progress in the technological world has been tremendous.
I recommend this film to any offshore radio and sixties fan. I am waiting for the "Not So Jolly Roger" Danger Man episode based on the Red Sands Fort to come out but the release of this is as exciting. I watched it in three sections over three sandwich breaks at lunchtime, and enjoyed every minute. I will be watching it again and again. The running time is about 73 minutes and it is in good quality black and white.
The DVD cover is very poor at giving any details about the film or cast so I will list the information in full here:
Director: Jeremy Summers
Writers: Tudor Gates based on an idea by Harold Shampan
Producer: Harry Benn
Cinematography: Stephen Dade.
Editing Sidney Stone.
Music Composer; Johnny Douglas.
William Lucas - Major Fairclough; Kenneth Cope - Lester Benson; George Mikell - Pal Verlekt; Conrad Phillips - Tom Jenkins; Patsy Rowlands - Mrs Edgecombe, Burnell Tucker - Dale Meredith; Anna Cartaret - Gay Jenkins; Vanda Godsell - Mrs Jenkins; Gertan Klauber - Meverhop; Doel Luscombe - Assistant Commisioner; Peter Sander - Spankharen; Geoffrey Lumsden - Army Officer Ronald Bridges - Garage Attendant; David Kirk - Dock Policeman; Small Faces; Kiki Dee; Chantelles; Kenny Everett.