Catch Us If You Can (Having a Wild Weekend)

Movie Information

Catch Us If You Can, part of a series of Classic Cinema From Around the World, will be presented at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, at Courtyard Gallery, 9 Walnut St. in downtown Asheville. Info: 273-3332.
Genre: Musical Comedy-Drama
Director: John Boorman (Excalibur)
Starring: The Dave Clark Five, Barbara Ferris, Hugh Walters, Yootha Joyce, David de Keyser
Rated: NR

John Boorman’s first feature film finds him in the unwieldy position of trying to do for the Dave Clark Five what Richard Lester did for the Beatles with A Hard Day’s Night. There are a couple of problems with this idea—the lesser of which is probably that the group bore the name of drummer Dave Clark; Clark wasn’t the lead singer. The solution? Approach all the songs the way Lester approached “Can’t Buy Me Love.” In other words, put the music on the soundtrack over images of the boys cavorting. It works most of the time, though the five often appear to be running around because they’ve been told to, not because they’re expressing their uncontrollable energy. A larger problem is the simple fact that Dave Clark—aptly described several times in the film as saturnine—isn’t very likable.

The resulting film is a fascinating outburst of strangeness of almost Fellini-esque proportions—especially as concerns the gigantic images of Barbara Ferris hawking meat (“Meat for go!”) that appear to festoon the whole of London. The boys seem to live in a disused church that’s halfway turned into a gymnasium with multiple occupancy showers. The plot has stuntman Steve (Clark) running off with Dinah (Ferris) in the middle of a commercial shoot. The why of it is never very clear, except that she seems prone to running away, but the film is all about their decidedly peculiar adventures. For a purported comedy, the movie has a distinct air of sadness hanging over it, which may be its greatest strength, since it affords the film a strange haunting quality quite unlike any other Brit Invasion artifact.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.