"After the Beatles made it big with "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help", there were a slew of copycat movies cranked out by the music industry. "Ghost Goes Gear" is one such attempt to capitalize on the success of Beatlemania.To be perfectly honest, I didn't want to like this film. Overall, I thought it was Monkees-lite. And any attempt at sticking with a storyline goes out the window about twenty minutes in. This is unfortunate, because the film would be far more memorable if the slick madcap weirdness of the opening segments could have been maintained. However, I wound up thinking the movie wasn't half-bad, for what it was.Some have criticized the director, Hugh Gladwish, for letting the plot get lost, but I think he did pretty good with the rest of it. Visually, the film has some minor flair. The camera motion is reserved, yet fluid when called for. And I was struck by how sharp the focus was throughout the whole film. I also liked the Monkees-ish drum chase down the river in the opening segment, and the umbrella-march to Rowthorpe Hall. The Spencer Davis Group isn't too bad at Monkee-like mugging for the camera. The lads are pleasant enough, and do their best. The ghost is kind of funny, too. There is even a touch of Python in the proceedings.Two personalities stand out in the rest of the cast; Jack Haig will be instantly recognizable to fans of the Britcom "'Allo, 'Allo!" And Nicholas Parsons is interesting as the uptight band manager, sort of a cross between John Cleese and Paul Lynde. The audio commentary is more about the music scene in England at the time of the film, rather than about the film itself. This commentary was enjoyable, though, and informative. Spencer Davis and humorist Martin Lewis readily joke that the film was a black hole for just about everyone career-wise.The Spencer Davis Group is not bad at cooking up the groovy tunes. The other acts are instantly forgettable, save for the Paramount Jazz Band which seems rediculously out of place in the movie (the commentary explains that, in reality, the jazz band fits for the era). And Dave Berry is just plain annoying with his weird, hide-his-face foolishness. Thank goodness he only has two songs!The Three Belles are an odd act, too. As Spencer and Martin Lewis remark in the commentary, they appear to be the inspiration for Austin Powers' Femmbots. In their first number, look for the middle Belle, who is the only one who seems to know how to react to the camera. One gets the sense that the producers just lined up whoever was available, but not bigger than the Spencer Davis Group. Of course, Stevie Winwood fans will want to see the film, but he really doesn't do much acting-wise. Spencer and Peter York do most of the work there.There's no naughtiness whatsoever, so you don't have to worry if your kids want to watch it (not that it will hold their attention past when the "gear" concert starts).This slice of the Sixties British Invasion will undoubtedly be more interesting if you're into the Spencer Davis Group or the era, but the movie really holds more significance for the British audience than for anyone in the US."
Lots of nostalgic fun from the Sixties
Robert Huggins | Suburban Philadelphia, PA United States | 10/29/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"You don't have to be a fan of 1960s "British Invasion" bands to enjoy "The Ghost Goes Gear," but it surely helps. In the wake of The Beatles' successful first film, "Hard Day's Night," there were a host of films that featured British rock/pop bands of the era including, among others, Herman's Hermits (in "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter"), The Dave Clark Five (in "Having a Wild Weekend," directed by John Boorman!) and this rarely seen 1966 film featuring The Spencer Davis Group that never even made it to the U.S. until 1999 as part of a film revival. While "The Ghost Goes Gear" is a minor effort, it's certainly a lot of fun to watch, sort of a British version of "The Monkees," especially during the first half of the film. The second half of the film features musical numbers by obscure British musical acts of the era, the lone exception being Acker Bilk's jazz band.Fortunately, the film is played broadly by the cast, and Spencer Davis and his bandmates, brothers Muff (bass guitar) and Steve Winwood (guitar and keyboards), and Peter York (drums) acquit themselves nicely. Steve Winwood first made his musical mark with The Spencer Davis Group ("Gimme Some Lovin'," "I'm a Man") and went on to greater success as a member of Traffic and, later, as a solo act. Here, he's a very young looking 18 year old and is the quiet one of the group. While the band doesn't play any of its hits here (at least those with which U.S. audiences would be familiar), musically, they are the best thing going in the film. They perform a terrific, slightly country version of "The Midnight Special" that I found myself humming for several days after viewing the film. The other acts perform pleasant, but instantly forgettable tunes.Anchor Bay has done their usual great job in bringing this rarity to DVD. The film is presented in the widescreen format from, reportedly, the only uncut print of the film known to exist. There's also a very entertaining commentary track featuring Spencer Davis and humorist Martin Lewis.The "bottom line" on "The Ghost Goes Gear" is that it is an enjoyable, lighthearted romp that harkens back to the days when rock and roll was much happier and less angst ridden. View it in that context and you'll have a "fab" time."
One Star - But Fabulous!
Zirondelle | 01/15/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is so awful you have to love it! I can't believe someone actually directed it - no...I can't believe that someone actually CHOREOGRAPHED it! What's with the dance in the kitchen with the apples? LOL! The "plot" of the movie is as follows: The Spencer Davis Group (a bunch of merry madcaps) have a manager who has an olde ancestorial home. His daffy parents have no money to feed the electric meter, so the group hatches the idea to exploit the "Elizabethan" ghost (LOL! greasy pompadour and all) to bring in tourists. They also ask tourists to BYOB - that is, Bring Your Own Band. The entertainment that shows up is ridiculously fantastic - Dave Berry who sings about his mama as he climbs down a tree in his Beatle boots, or hides in a field peeking through weeds while singing something called "Now", Polly, the maid, making wierd facial contortions and dance moves that can only be described as spastic,and The Three Belles - be-wigged homely gals who strike poses as they sing "Danger Zone" and "I'm the Original Lemon Tree"?????? There are other groups, but none so entertaining as these. I did enjoy the Spencer Davis group - I wonder if this movie embarrasses them now? Anyhoo, for a good laugh and some enjoyable tunes ("Midnight Special" "Nobody Loves You When You're Down and Out") this is the movie for you."
Director Needs Brain Transplant
John Robinson | Michigan | 12/20/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"No, that ain't the premise of this flick. That's what SHOULD HAVE been done to the director of this Grade Z film. The Spencer Davis Group is the only worthwhile thing in the movie and it's great to see these guys having fun, singing and giving each other sly looks like "this movie IS bad, ain't it?" Okay, so the ghost goes gear. They show this ghost once, for a few seconds, maybe twice. It has nothing to do with the plot....then the director fills up the allotted time with lame British bands that plod through crummy songs till the end of the movie. So why did I give it TWO stars? Because, bad film or not, it's still a piece of 60's nostalgia and it's fun to watch for that reason and to see the Spencer Davis Group (who do a terrific job). In comparison, it makes PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE look like STAR WARS."
John Robinson | 06/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Queue up for this scary shagadelic musical adventure with The Spencer Davis Group (featuring Steve Winwood) who stumble into a haunted English manor. A rarely seen flick full of groovy tunes, mods galore, and ghosts gone gear!"