Distributor:        Booktopia/Amazon                 
Release Date:    2016  
Running Time:   1 hour 35 minutes approx
Website:    http:/www.viavision.com.au 

 Serious Charge 

Reviewed By  Janet Mawdesley       January 2, 2017


Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this second movie starring the very young Cliff Richard is the timelessness of the story line, which was relevant then and interestingly enough, is still today.  Interestingly, this is a serious movie based in the ‘50’s focusing on some of the social issues of the time, which has been given some light relief with the music of Cliff Richard and the Shadows, all be it in a cameo role.

Perhaps some of the smaller details may have lost focus as time and social structure have changed but fundamentally the storyline remains the same, which really does show that for all the glitz and glamour that we wrap our world up in, so few of the basic values of society change.

Set in late 1950’s Richard plays a cameo role, as Curley Thompson,  the younger brother of local hoodlum Larry, who thinks nothing of defying the law or anyone else who gets in his way. He carries a switchblade and struts pure attitude.

Curley Thompson, still shows a bit of hope, but has begun to run up against the law, finding himself up in front of the local Magistrate, looking at possible goal time.  Reverend Phillips, new to the Parish, thinks otherwise and agrees to take Curley under his stewardship to see if he can change and become a positive member of Society.

Meanwhile Larry’s girlfriend Mary discovers she is pregnant, which leads to disaster on several different fronts, involving the Reverend Phillips, Larry, and parishioner Hester Peters, in what turns out to be a vicious triangle of hate and destruction. This in turn, causes the local towns folk to turn against the Reverend Phillips, who rapidly discovers people will believe anything, particularly when it appears to be all bad.

Adapted from a screen play of the same name and used as the vehicle to introduce Pop sensation Cliff Richard to a wider audience, the movie was well received with the single Living Doll rocketing through the charts to hit #1.

Along with this cameo role, Cliff Richard and the Drifters as they were then known, recorded their first EP, Serious Charges which was used as the sound track for the movie; Tracks for the real buffs on that EP are Living Doll (Lionel Bart), No Turning Back (Bart), Mad About You (Bart) and Chinchilla (Randy Starr and Dick Wolf), played as an instrumental by the Drifters, later to become known as the Shadows.

Re-pressed in Black And White, this movie still carries impact, is still very, very watchable and enjoyable as the twists and turns of the plot, although not unexpected, have translated well.

Some may see it as corny and old fashioned, but as a collector’s item, it is one that should be added to the shelf.