Frank Ifield's one and only movie is a bizarre oddity, so much so that I wouldn't be at all surprised if it has a cult following someplace. He plays 'Dave Kelly', an Antipodian singer who goes to Swinging London in the hope of hitting the big time. Soon after stepping off the boat, he espies an advertisement on a billboard featuring a beautiful young woman - Annette Andre - and, smitten by her ( and who wouldn't be? ) sets out to track her down. Directed by Christopher Miles from a script by Lewis Greifer ( later to write for 'The Prisoner' and 'Dr.Who' ). ''Up Jumped A Swagman' never makes up its mind what it wants to be - a fish out of water comedy a la 'Crocodile Dundee', a romantic comedy or a cynical look at the British pop scene of the Sixties. Peculiar things happen for no adequately explained reason, such as Dave being shot at by a James Bond-type villain ( Oliver MacGreevy ). Interviewed years later, Frank admitted to being mystified by the film. This is a pity as, while hardly a contender for an Oscar, he comes across an engaging, likeable personality, and is ably supported by the likes of Richard Wattis and Ronald Radd. The songs are pleasant and the picture's worth a watch if you're in an undemanding mood. Loved the 'Teenage Tester' scene!.
Frank Ifield, from my birthplace too,thats Coventry,but emigrated to Australia as a youngster with his family. The film is a colourful comedy not overrun by the singing of Frank. The bonus for me was the lovely Annette Andre who our Benny Hill proposed to , sadly she thought he was messing about, personally I think he meant it.
Frank Ifield was contracted for an initial three feature films by Elstree Distributors, part of the Associated British Picture Corporation (ABPC) and a company involving the Grades and the father of Edward Fox, James Fox, and grandfather of Emilia. It was planned during 1964 - when his signing was announced - going before cameras in early '65, and onto release in '66 - by which time pop and cinematic tastes were moving on at a lightning-fast speed. ABPC even let go their grip on a Herman's Hermits vehicle in 1967 because of this (it was produced by MGM in place). Frank Ifield's other two pictures - which all had titles attached - all became forsaken and momentum was lost when the ABPC board came under assault in 1967 from their first hostile takeover bid.
Ironically, in the trading to-and-fro ABPC and MGM, this picture from Elstree could not fit in during the big sixties rebuild of major parts of the complex and full occupancy of other parts of it, so was housed by MGM BorehamWood Studios across the way, which gives it a different look than the ABPC Cliff Richard musicals and the pop films made by ABPC's AB-Pathe at their West End studios.
The producer of the film, Andrew Mitchell MBE, was an ABPC executive who brought Ken Russell into films, and was later chief of Elstree during the seventies and eighties. He was later a part of Roy Skeggs' Hammer retrieval at the complex. Christopher Miles was a fairly inspired choice for ABPC, but then it's forgotten that they did sire a filmmaking youth in Peter Yates, and Sidney J. Furie.