#197 – Beat Bourguignon

(1962, US, 118 min) Dir William Lett. Cast Russ Tamblyn, Rosalyn Bier, Lou Jacobi.

Fleeing an enraged landlord after an all night bongo party ends in an unacceptable amount of property damage, even for the dive he’s renting, Russ Tamblyn’s beat wannabe Chico Wow hitches a transatlantic crossing to France, ending up on the streets of Paris where he is mistaken for bona fide hepcat poet Jimmy Coinsberg. Within no time at all he’s holed up in a garret of his own and in love with Rosalyn Bier’s romantic prostitute Candy. Oh, and it’s a musical with some exceptional dance numbers in the streets of a Paris that’s imagined with fantastic colourful sets in the vein of An American in Paris or Irma le Douce – their torn posters and exposed brick walls are worth the price of admission alone. By the end of the film the streets are stuffed with Parisian wannabe hepcats, swinging to Chico Wow’s imported beat. A huge flop at the time and almost devoid of tension, Lett’s film is nonetheless a perfect time capsule from the era.


Twitter: @MadeUpFilms


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