Made a year before A HARD DAY’S NIGHT, this is Cliff Richard’s and the Shadow’s (later his very own shadows) crowning glory. You dear reader, know the song at the very least. You dear viewer, might know the worn references. You will hardly know the cultural weight. But even if you are a self involved, hipster dweeb, who happened to travel from obscurely titled place in the UK down to the big smoke, you know the song at the very outside. SUMMER HOLIDAY. Yes this is it. This is the summer film of summer films. This is the film they all pinched bits from and led the teenage rebellion.
Don (Cliff Richard) dreams of the south of France as a summer holiday destination. It has been a miserably wet British summer and so on his lunch break, he comes up with a plan. His friends (Melvyn Hayes, Teddy Green and Jeremy Bulloch) are bus mechanics at London Transport bus head office and help him overhaul a double-decker bus. Don has persuaded London Transport to trial a new idea. Convert a London bus into a holiday caravan, that can be driven across continental Europe. Will it work? Will they find fun, sun and more?
If you have not seen it, you can guess what you are going to get when you hear that SUMMER HOLIDAY was voted 99th best family film ever by Channel 4. A light hearted, musical, comedy, romance mashup. Director Peter Yates is better know for other films (like BULLITT no less) but his first film is a whole scale vehicle for its star Cliff Richard. It works if you let it. The film has not pretense. It has no agenda. Its lock, stock and barrel, a product of its generation. Teens were stitching together an identity and this plays into that. Frankly, it is brilliant. You have to know, not to take it as anything more than what it is.
It looks amazing. Well done studioCanal. A gleaming work, which sounds sexy, looks ravishing and has perfected the scheme of 60s palette.
The problem with a package like this, for me at least, is that the company backing it are focused on one thing. That clearly reinforcing the piece, its contributors and from its point of view, nothing on the disc either explores the background to vigorously. It also never deviates from the station and never goes back on its word. Namely you are to have fun…