Ferry Cross the Mersey [1965]

5/10 | 21.Jun.12
Ferry Cross the Mersey

DIRECTOR: Jeremy Summers | WRITERS: David Franden, Tony Warren | CAST: Gerry and the Pacemakers, Julie Samuel, Mona Washbourne, Cillla Black | UK

When Ferry Cross the Mersey first came out I saw it probably half a dozen times, which is not all that remarkable given my movie going habits when I was 9 years old — my mother would drop my brother and me off at the Fox Van Nuys for a Saturday matinee double bill and collect us 5 or 6 hours later. Sundays, too. But I also loved Gerry and the Pacemakers and the whole Mersey Sound that most people these days seem to think means only The Beatles. It wasn’t so. The movie is really nothing but an excuse for Brian Epstein in those pre-music video days to show off Gerry and the Pacemakers (another group he managed) performing 9 new songs and to show off a couple of songs and some snippits of a few other Mersey Sound groups (The Blackwells, The Black Knights, The Fourmost, Earl Royce and the Olympics — one of The Black- groups or maybe it was Earl Royce and the Olympics wear platinum blond fright wigs and look like they’re copying Andy Warhol’s 1980s look). And, of course, there’s a song by the Incomparable Cilla Black. The tired plot has Gerry and the Pacemakers as themselves getting ready for a competition to determine who will represent Merseyside in the upcoming European Beat Competition. Guess who wins? Nonexistent production values, dreadful screenplay (if there even was one), incompetent directing by Jeremy Summers who doesn’t even make an effort to copy A Hard Day’s Night, and an out-of-nowhere Keystone Kops pastiche with speeded-up film complete with policemen running all herky-jerky down the middle of the street and falling down into piles. Lousy movie all around, but there’s some interesting location shooting in a strangely depeopled Liverpool. Pure nostalgia for me and a fabtastic soundtrack. I think it’s gear.

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