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Expresso Bongo
Expresso Bongo
Actors: Laurence Harvey, Sylvia Syms, Yolande Donlan, Cliff Richard, Meier Tzelniker
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2001     1hr 51min

Laurence harvey stars as a fast-talking talent agent who discovers a hip young bongo player in a london coffee bar and sends him on an upward trajectory to stardom and corruption. Studio: Kino International Release Date:...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Laurence Harvey, Sylvia Syms, Yolande Donlan, Cliff Richard, Meier Tzelniker
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Musicals
Studio: Kino Video
Format: DVD - Black and White,Widescreen,Anamorphic
DVD Release Date: 11/06/2001
Original Release Date: 01/01/1959
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1959
Release Year: 2001
Run Time: 1hr 51min
Screens: Black and White,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Where's the rest of it?
david gonzalez | 04/02/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Although the print is great and the letterbox format really helps, several of the songs from the original are missing. I recorded this film back in the 80's off of television and the version I recorded has at least three more songs. Their ommision for me makes it a very different film. If you've never seen it, you might not mind, but if you have, be prepared for the musical readers digest version of the film. Laurence Harvey is fabulous although the deletion of his musical numbers greatly inhibits the arc of his character's development. Richard is excellent in his first role. All his songs are intact!"
The Same Shoddy Piece of Goods
michael rawls | gainesville, fl USA | 12/22/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)

"Forget about stars. Kino's DVD of "Expresso Bongo" is the same mangled version that appeared on VHS a couple of years ago. Three
songs performed by Laurence Harvey are missing. I e-mailed Kino about this abridgement at the time. Mr. Gonzalez is quite correct in calling Kino's cut a "Reader's Digest" version of the film.I was hoping Harvey's numbers would be restored for the DVD version but I see I will have to make do with my murky off-the-air video recording."
Expresso Bong.....Oh
len4711 | hastings, east sussex United Kingdom | 03/12/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)

"An on target black and white satire of the 1950's pop music scene with only one problem. The music isn't all there. As I remember it , there was at least one other song in the original cinema release and it's omission removes some of the bite from the whole. Overall, a bit of a let-down considering that there wasn't much music to start with, although Cliff Richard does get a reasonable look-in. (Can you believe that he was really nineteen at the time ? He only looks about fourteen here.)Anyway, it is still worth having a look at but I imagine that those expecting to see the same film that they saw all those years ago are going to feel disappointed."
Sharp Showbiz Satire.
peterfromkanata | Kanata, Ontario Canada | 05/31/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"WOW ! Talk about mixed reviews ! I gather from some of the reviewers that certain parts of the original film--apparently Laurence Harvey had some songs--are missing in this version.
Sorry--I find it difficult to miss what I have never seen in the first place. As long as the Cliff Richard numbers are included, I suspect most people will be satisfied.This is a highly entertaining film, and while Laurence's singing may be "missing in action", his acting as the ultimate hustling, unethical, desperate showbiz manager is terrific. Whether it's 1959, when the film was made, or 2003, one suspects that success in the world of pop music does dictate that "nice guys will finish last". Harvey's character is certainly not a "nice guy", but his brash, "silver-tongued" persona becomes, thanks to a great actor, sympathetic to the viewer. As his long-suffering girlfriend, Maisie the Stripper, Sylvia Syms matches Harvey's performance as the only type of woman who would stick with this manic guy for more than five minutes !An incredibly young Cliff Richard is "Bongo" Herbert, Harvey's big "discovery". This was not Cliff's first film, but it was his first major role, and he was well-cast as a naive young singer who just performs "for kicks", until he learns the ways of a ruthless world. One more point for music fans--you will also see Cliff Richard's legendary backing group, the Shadows, in the coffee bar scene, before they became big stars in their own right.The film captures the atmosphere of London's more sleazy areas, circa 1959, as well as the excitement created by a new force in music--rock n' roll. Of course, if there is one ingredient that lifts this movie over many others of the same type, it is the script--this one really crackles !The picture is widescreen, black and white and the quality is good, rather than great--sound, of course, is mono.Overall, a classic satire on the music business and the exploitation of artists. Recommended."