Catch Us If You Can (film)

Catch Us If You Can (film)

Infobox Film
name = Catch Us If You Can

caption = Barbara Ferris & Dave Clark in "Catch Us If You Can"
director = John Boorman
producer = David Deutsch
Basil Keys
writer = Peter Nichols
starring = Dave Clark
Julian Holloway
Lenny Davidson
Rick Huxley
Barbara Ferris
music = John A. Coleman
Basil Kirchin
cinematography = Manny Wynn
editing = Gordon Pilkington
distributor = Warner Bros. Pictures
released = flagicon|UK April 1965
flagicon|US August 18, 1965
flagicon|Germany May 16, 1970 (TV premiere)
runtime = 91 min.
country = UK
language = English
amg_id = 1:94436
imdb_id = 0059258

"Catch Us If You Can" (1965) (released with the title "Having a Wild Weekend" in the U.S.) was the feature-film debut of director John Boorman. Ostensibly designed as a vehicle for pop band The Dave Clark Five, whose popularity at the time rivaled that of The Beatles, and named after their hit song "Catch Us If You Can", this strangely downbeat film actually departs in various ways from the formula created by Richard Lester in "A Hard Day's Night", and by Sidney J. Furie and Peter Yates with the Cliff Richard films.


Although they perform the off-screen soundtrack music, The Dave Clark Five (unlike The Beatles) do not play themselves, but appear to be a team of freelance stuntmen/extras, led by the saturnine Steve (Dave Clark). Clark had worked as a stuntman on a number of films, providing him with experience and camera-sense that the The Beatles would have lacked in "A Hard Day's Night".

Far from being a conventional pop vehicle, this serious, thought-provoking film concerns itself with the frailty of personal relationships, the flimsiness of dreams, and the difficulty of maintaining spontaneity and integrity in a stage-managed "society of the spectacle." (That such a message is articulated through one of the very mass media that have created this society is just one of several ironies.) Boorman, an established documentarist and veteran of TV commercials, already displays great technical skill in this early film. This debut offering is particularly compelling (it drew favourable notices from Pauline Kael and Dilys Powell), not least because of the enormous cultural energy of the time (mid-1960s) in which the film was made.


During the filming of a TV commercial for a "Meat For Go" campaign set in London's Smithfields Market, Steve, disillusioned by the inanity of his job, absconds in an E-type Jag (one of the props) with a young actress/model, Dinah (played by Barbara Ferris). They make their way across a wintry southern England towards the island, off the coast of Devon, that Dinah is contemplating buying (presumably to escape the pressures of her celebrity as the "Butcher Girl" on the back of the TV meat advertising campaign). This act of rebellion is cynically exploited by the advertising executive behind the campaign, Leon Zissell (played by David de Keyser), who deputes two of his henchmen to pursue the fleeing couple.

On their journey, Steve and Dinah encounter first a group of hippies (squatting in MOD-owned buildings on Salisbury Plain), and then an unhappily-married middle-aged couple (the brilliant duo of Yootha Joyce and Robin Bailey) in the opulent surroundings of Bath's Royal Crescent. (Joyce and Bailey's scenes are both the funniest and most poignant in the film.) Steve also plans to visit his boyhood hero, Louie (David Lodge), whose youth club in London's East End he attended, and who has since relocated to Devon.

Having fled the police (and Leon Zissell's henchmen) after a fancy-dress party in the Roman baths, Steve and Dinah (with the rest of Steve's gang - and the police - in hot pursuit) make their way towards Devon. Steve's encounter with Louie is disappointing. Louie recognises Dinah instantly (because of her TV celebrity), but fails to recognise Steve, and misremembers his name, even after being introduced. Dinah's island also proves to be disappointing. At low tide it is reachable from the mainland, and Zissell (who is clearly besotted with Dinah) has arrived already.

Production notes

Lenny Davidson is the only one of the DC5 who doesn't utter a single word in the movie, usually because the others don't let him get a word in edgeways. Ironically, he is dressed as Harpo Marx at the Arts Ball party (until Dinah switches costumes with him to avoid being caught by the police and her bosses. This is evident not only in the film, but on the back cover of the soundtrack album)

Denis Payton's last name is misspelled as "Paynton" in the opening and closing credits.


Of the twelve tracks on the U.S. soundtrack album (Epic 24162/26162), only four are from the film: "Having A Wild Weekend", "Catch Us If You Can", "Sweet Memories" and "On The Move". The remainder of songs used in the film were from previous albums, including...
*"Time" from "Glad All Over"
*"Move On" and "Ol' Sol" from "American Tour"
*"When" and "I Can't Stand It" from "Coast To Coast"


External links

*imdb title|0059258
* [ DVD Beaver Review]

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