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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Beat Girl aka Wild for Kicks [Blu-ray]

 

(Edmond T. Gréville, 1960)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Willoughby Film Productions

Video: BFI

 

Disc:

Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Original Runtime: 1:27:42.183 / Alternate: 1:32:09.000 / Extended: 1:32:38.964

Disc Size: 46,259,207,475 bytes

Original Feature Size: 18,842,886,144 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: April 25th, 2016

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

Extended version (92 mins): featuring additional sequences with Farrar, Hills and Noëlle Adam

Alternative version (92 mins, Blu-ray only)
An Interview with Gillian Hills (2016, 25:26): the film's star recalls her experience of working on Beat Girl
Cross-Roads (John Fitchen, 1955, 19:17): supernatural short starring the legendary Christopher Lee
Beauty in Brief (c.1955, 3:50): forgotten saucy 1950s pin-up short which recalls the milieu of Beat Girl
Goodnight with Sabrina (c.1958, 3:49): glamour short starring 1950s TV bombshell Sabrina, aka Norma Sykes

Alternative sequences (3 mins, DVD only)
Illustrated booklet with new writing by Gillian Hills, Vic Pratt, Johnny Trunk and Jo Botting, and full film credits
 

 

Bitrate:

Original theatrical version (87 mins)

 

 

Alternative version (92 mins)

 

 

Extended version (92 mins)

 

 

 

Description: Restless teen Jennifer (Gillian Hills, Blow-up) escapes her square papa (David Farrar, Black Narcissus) at Soho's Off Beat coffee bar, rocking it with beatnik Dave (a super-cool Adam Faith), sensual singer Dodo (Shirley Anne Field) and icy-eyed Plaid Shirt (Oliver Reed). But a secret from Jennifer's French stepmother's past leads to the Les Girls strip joint, run by Kenny King (Christopher Lee). Remastered from the original negatives, and featuring John Barry's fantastic first soundtrack, this legendary British 1950s juvenile delinquency flick is straight from the fridge, daddy-o.

 

 

The Film:

A rebellious teenager runs away from home and joins the SoHo beatniks when her widowed father remarries a much younger woman. But beatnik life isn't all it seems and she ends up hanging out as a stripper in a sleazy club, hoping to learn about her mom. There the creepy club owner attempts to seduce her, and his lover gets jealous and stabs him. Now the two must do something fast. The film is also known as Wild for Kicks, and features music from rocker Adam Faith, the John Barry Seven, and other beatnik acts.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Beat Girl is set in that mythic milieu in pop culture history – Soho in the late 50s – the moment when England discovered ‘cool’, when wild young merchant seamen such as Tommy Steele and Cliff Richard went looking for kicks during shore time and accidentally imported an American music called rock’n’roll. In coffee bars, across the street from strip joints, the nation’s first ‘teenagers’, fuelled by double shots of espresso, went wild for this new music. Somewhere between child and adult, this new being began to create its own identity and its own language. When Jenny’s (Gillian Hills) father asks her what all the new words mean she replies, ‘It means us. Something that’s ours. We didn’t get it from our parents’. The film is peppered with so many ‘cool it daddios’ it seems almost too forced – the ‘square’ movie producers’ idea of what the kids sound like – but it may well be accurate.

Excerpt from Electric Sheep located HERE

 

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Beat Girl gets an impressive transfer to Blu-ray from BFI.  It's solidly into dual-layered territory and the various versions appear to be seamlessly-branched making the quality of each the same. Frankly, I only vaguely know the differences - as cited by BFI - although my suspicions lead more to showing various stages of skin than any key plot points. The 1080P supports solid contrast exhibiting a healthy, appearance and some minor depth in the 1.66:1 frame.  It's very clean showcasing some pleasing detail and there are really no flaws with the rendering. This Blu-ray gives an excellent home theatre rendition of the film Beat Girl. It seems devoid of imperfections of any kind.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The BFI Blu-ray of Beat Girl offers a linear PCM transfer for the audio at 2304 Kbps. It sounds clean and clear. One of my favorite composers, John Barry (Midnight Cowboy, Dances With Wolves and the Bond themes among his many credits) did the score with entries like The Beat Girl Song, I Did What You Told Me and Made You performed by Adam Faith (and watch for It's Legal performed by, super-honey, Shirley Anne Field) Nothing but positives here for the audio transfer as well. There are optional English subtitles (see sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE playable world-wide.

 

Extras :

So aside from the extended version, featuring additional sequences with Farrar, Hills and Noëlle Adam and another alternative version there is a brand new interview with Gillian Hills - the film's star recalls her experience of working on Beat Girl - running about 25-minutes. Cross-Roads is a 20-minute supernatural short from 1955 starring the legendary Christopher Lee and directed by John Fitchen. Beauty in Brief is a short, 1955, forgotten saucy pin-up short which recalls the milieu of Beat Girl as does the similarly length-ed Goodnight with Sabrina glamour short starring 1950s TV bombshell Sabrina, aka Norma Sykes. There is a DVD that excludes the alternative version but does show 3-minutes of missing sequences and the package has an illustrated booklet with new writing by Gillian Hills, Vic Pratt, Johnny Trunk and Jo Botting, and full film credits

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
If you can appreciate the period and social changes of the time you can get a kick out of Beat Girl. I really began to get into it and am grateful for the other version to have the opportunity to see the film again. It's quite a serious lark.  The BFI Blu-ray provides an excellent a/v presentation with many valuable supplements. For those interested - we give our endorsement. I love historical artifacts like this - they are unique and should be appreciated. Cool daddio. Bravo BFI! 

Gary Tooze

April 20th, 2016


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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