Het is vandaag al 55 jaar geleden dat de Franse filmregisseur Edmond T.Gréville is overleden.
In 1933 draait Edmond T.Gréville met “Vacances conjugales” zijn eerste langspeelfilm. Alhoewel dit een komedie is, laat het pikante gegeven toch al vermoeden dat Gréville vooral in die sector beroemd (of is het berucht?) zal worden (*).
Van zijn oudste films kan ik het enkel vermoeden aan de hand van de titels (“Princesse Tam Tam” uit 1935, “Dorothée cherche l’amour” uit 1945 of “Pour une nuit d’amour” uit 1947), maar vanaf zijn hoogtepunt (de film noir “Port du désir” uit 1955 met Jean Gabin in de hoofdrol) is het wel duidelijk. In 1958 is er “L’ile du bout du monde”, in 1959 (in Engeland) “Beat girl” en in 1962 “L’accident”, tevens zijn laatste film.
Beat Girl is a 1960 British film about late-fifties youth-rebellion. The film was later released in the United States under the title Wild for Kicks. The title character of Beat Girl was played by starlet Gillian Hills, who later went on to have numerous small roles in 1960s and 1970s films, such as Blowup and A Clockwork Orange, and became a successful “ye-ye” singer in France. Beat Girl marked the first film roles of British pop idol Adam Faith and actor Peter McEnery, although it was not released until after other films featuring Faith (Never Let Go)and McEnery (Tunes of Glory) had already come out. The film also features Christopher Lee and Nigel Green as strip joint operators, and Oliver Reed in a small role as one of the “beat” youth.
The original script, entitled “Striptease Girl,” was submitted to the British Board of Film Censors in March 1959, whose reviewer termed it “machine-made dirt” and “the worst script I have read for some years.” The project was then renamed “Beat Girl” and nudity was reduced; however, censors still objected to scenes of striptease (**), juvenile delinquency, and teenagers playing “chicken” by lying on railway tracks before an oncoming train. Ultimately, the film received an “X” certificate. When finally released it performed reasonably well at the box office in UK, despite receiving bad reviews.
The original music was composer John Barry’s first film commission, and was performed by the John Barry Seven and Orchestra, Adam Faith, and Shirley Anne Field. Barry was subsequently hired to score Faith’s next films Never Let Go and Mix Me a Person, leading to Barry’s successful career as a composer and arranger of film music. The song “Made You,” composed by John Barry and Trevor Peacock and performed in the film by Faith, achieved minor hit status before being banned by the BBC for suggestive lyrics. The Beat Girl soundtrack was the first British soundtrack album to be released on a vinyl LP, and it reached number 11 on the British album charts, paving the way for the release of other film soundtrack albums. [Wikipedia]
(*) Vooral in de oudste films van Edmond T.Gréville is er steeds een belangrijke rol weggelegd voor ene Raymond Blot, die volgens mij de vader is van Philippe Blot, de man die het fortuin van Sylvia Kristel erdoor joeg, maar ik heb daar voorlopig nog geen bevestiging van gevonden.
(**) Pascaline, the Haitian exotic dancer who appears in a sequence performing with a scarf, had performed in real life as an exotic dancer at the Crazy Horse Saloon in Paris.