Beat Girl | 1960 | David Farrar, Adam Faith

Beat Girl | 1960 | David Farrar, Adam Faith

Beat Girl (Wild For Kicks) is a low budget period piece that was, at the time of its release, cut to ribbons by the censors. Featuring a brace of pre-fame faces, it follows spoilt rich girl Jennifer (Hills) and her Beatnik pals as she cruises the jazz clubs and strip joints of 50s London, all the while trying to dig up some dirt on her sexy Parisian step-mother (Adam).

In many respects it’s appalling. Certain actors emphasise random words, single scenes appear to take place at both day and night and the plot hinges on a revelation that’s barely worth mentioning. But there’s also a great deal that’s genuinely fascinating. The juvenile delinquents (actually posho art school types with vowels like cut glass) talk at length about post-war alienation, while Jennifer’s architect father (Farrer) is designing a walled metropolis called City 2000 in which the inhabitants need never meet. Lee’s nightclub owner is sleaze on a stick, and the whole thing’s loaded with hipster argot. ("Straight from the fridge, dads!" "He sends me over and out!" "Melt, melt, melt!")

John Barry’s big-band-meets-surf-rock score (including a theme tune later covered by The Damned) rumbles away in the background, Oliver Reed executes some extraordinary dance moves and a striptease scene featuring Delphi Lawrence is provocative even by today’s standards. It takes a murder to persuade Jennifer to return to the bosom of her family but the moral, if there is one, is highly ambiguous. The English B-movie at its most deliciously salacious then, but not for squares, daddio. You dig?

cast
David Farrar as Paul Linden
Noëlle Adam as Nichole
Christopher Lee as Kenny King
Gillian Hills as Jennifer Linden
Adam Faith as Dave
Shirley Anne Field as Dodo (as Shirley-Anne Field)
Peter McEnery as Tony
Claire Gordon as Honey
Oliver Reed as Plaid Shirt
Delphi Lawrence as Greta

crew
Art Direction: Elven Webb
Director Of Photography: Walter Lassally
Camera Operator: Ginger Gemmel
Hairstylist: Anne Box
Makeup Artist: Sidney Turner
Sound Recordist: J.B. Smith
Sound Recordist: Gerry Turner
Director: Edmond T. Gréville
Producer: George Willoughby
Casting: Harvey Woods
Music: John Barry
Adr & Dubbing: Don Challis
Screenplay: Dail Ambler

UK | 83 minutes | 1960

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