A 1966 article in Time magazine started what became known as the 'Swinging London' phenomenon, alleging young people were migrating southwards in droves, hoping to find an exciting new way of life. Movies leapt on the bandwagon. 'Smashing Time' teamed the stars of two of the decade's most iconic films - Lynn Redgrave from 'Georgy Girl' and Rita Tushingham from 'A Taste Of Honey'. They play 'Yvonne' and 'Brenda', a pair of Northern girls who travel to London in search of fame and fortune. They search for Carnaby Street, but a drunken Irishman ( George A.Cooper ) sends them instead to Camden Street where they are robbed by an old tramp ( Sydney Bromley ). Yvonne gets a job as a nightclub hostess, and is almost seduced by caddish Bobby Mame-Rath ( Ian Carmichael ).
After winning a cash prize on a T.V. show, Yvonne gambles her winnings on a bid for the pop charts. The resulting single - 'I'm So Young' - makes it to the top. Brenda becomes a Jean Shrimpton-type model. Needless to say, their fame proves only fleeting, and the film ends with them going home.
Had 'Smashing Time' been made five years earlier, it would probably have conformed to the 'kitchen sink' melodramas in vogue at the time. But, by 1967, 'with-it' comedies such as Richard Lester's 'The Knack' were wanted audiences wanted. Quick-fire dialogue exchanges, montages, jump-cuts, wipes, anything can happen and it does. 'Time' pays homage to 'Swinging London' while simultaneously deconstructing its myth. Pop stars, art, fashion, music, the sexual revolution, all are sent up rotten by writer George Melly and director Desmond Davis. In one of my favourite scenes, avant-garde exhibits ( designed and built by Bruce Lacey ) come to life in an art gallery and terrorise patrons ( Brenda being pursued by a kissing machine must be seen to be believed! ) while another has Yvonne on a 'Candid Camera'-style show entitled 'You Can't Help Laughing!'. Peter Jones' smirking host presides over a wholesale demolition of a sweet old lady's house while the owner is out, and it is not far removed from the kind of cruelty that passes for light entertainment nowadays.
I would have preferred less slapstick and more satire. The fight in the café goes on forever, and is unnecessary to begin with. Arthur Mullard and Irene Handl pop up, along with Anna Quayle and Jeremy Lloyd ( the latter particularly good as a pop impresario ). Michael York plays 'Tom Wabe', a dig at David Bailey-type Cockney photographers. Murray Melvin and Paul Danquah, both of whom co-starred with Tushingham in 'A Taste Of Honey', appear in cameo roles.
The finale is set in the revolving restaurant in the Post Office Tower. At a lavish showbiz party, Yvonne falls backwards into a cake, everyone laughs at her, and, to get revenge, Brenda causes the restaurant to spin faster and faster. Guests are pinned to the walls by centrifugal force. Power stations blow up. London is plunged into darkness. Our girls have had the last laugh.
The music is fab, particularly 'I'm So Young' which really could have been a Top Ten hit had someone bothered to release it. Great, groovy fun, a museum piece but well worth tracking down. And Redgrave looks gear in that blonde wig!
Comedy / Musical
Comedy / Musical
Two young women from Northern England, plain Brenda and flamboyant Yvonne, arrive in London to find fame and fortune. Misdirected and separated, they strike out on their own with Yvonne becoming a model and Brenda a waitress. After Brenda sabotages Yvonne's date--who then takes advantage of her--they lose their jobs, and soon the roles are reversed: Brenda succeeds as a model and Yvonne becomes a waitress. Competing with each other, they soon learn that they must team up to take on their adversaries in order to succeed. —Matt Patay
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
September 28, 2021 at 06:47 AM