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Telstar: The Joe Meek Story (2008)

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A music-infused drama about Joe Meek, the flamboyantly gay, tone deaf, songwriter-producer behind the '60s hits "Have I the Right," "Just Like Eddie," "Johnny, Remember Me" and "Telstar."

Director:

Nick Moran
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Con O'Neill ... Joe Meek
Kevin Spacey ... Major Wilfred Banks
Pam Ferris ... Mrs. Violet Shenton
JJ Feild ... Heinz Burt
James Corden ... Clem Cattini
Tom Burke ... Geoff Goddard
Ralf Little ... Chas Hodges
Sid Mitchell Sid Mitchell ... Patrick Pink
Mathew Baynton ... Ritchie Blackmore
Shaun Evans ... Billy Kuy
Callum Dixon ... John Leyton
Tom Harper ... Alan Caddy
Jon Lee Jon Lee ... Billy Fury
Nigel Harman Nigel Harman ... Jess Conrad
Carl Barât ... Gene Vincent (as Carl Barat)
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Storyline

In the early 1960s self-taught electronics whizz Joe Meek amazingly produces a string of home made hit singles from his studio in his flat above a leather shop in London. His biggest success is the instrumental 'Telstar' but accusations of plagiarism delay royalties. Joe's mercurial temper causes his artists to forsake him for other labels, in particular his young lover Heinz Burt. Now in debt and after unwisely parting from his chief financier Major Banks, Joe finds himself unable to control his life. Increasingly paranoid, believing he is being bugged by rival record companies and that everybody is out to get him, the last straw comes when landlady Violet tells him she is selling the building in which he lives. Joe had once confiscated a shotgun from Heinz. Now it is dangerously close at hand and about to end the Joe Meek story. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Hit after hit... someone's going to get hurt

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, sexual content and brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 June 2009 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Telstar See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£1,250,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£22,343 (United Kingdom), 21 June 2009, Limited Release
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Aspiration Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color | Black and White (a few scenes: television scenes and archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ralf Little plays the part of musician Chas Hodges, whilst Chas Hodges himself appears in the part of Mr. Brolin. See more »

Goofs

The film is quite clearly set in 1963 but the registration plate of the black van in which the group are touring shows the suffix "D" which was issued in the year 1966. See more »

Quotes

Major Wilfred Banks: Anton, isn't it?
Geoff Goddard: Sorry?
Major Wilfred Banks: Anton Hollywood, pianist?
Geoff Goddard: Yes. Well, no.
Major Wilfred Banks: Well, I'm afraid Joe's decision is final, he doesn't feel you've got what it takes. And if you've come for compensation, you can trot off back to wherever the hell...
Geoff Goddard: No, it's Geoff, not just Geoff. Geoff Goddard.
Major Wilfred Banks: Oh! The author! Tunesmith!
Geoff Goddard: Composer.
Major Wilfred Banks: Composer, yes, of course.
Geoff Goddard: The name Anton Hollywood was Joe's idea, it's not real. It's a stage name. He thought he'd do a Russ Conway with me, didn't work out.
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Stageplay first performed by the New Vic Workshop See more »

Connections

References Biggles (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

Play it Cool
Composed by Norrie Paramor
Published by Universal/Dick James Music Ltd
Performed by Billy Fury
Courtesy of Decca Music Group
under licence from Universal Music Operations
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Good Enough Film
10 October 2009 | by GrahamEnglandSee all my reviews

I do know something about the mad genius that was Joe Meek. Enough to know that putting his turbulent life into one film is not easy, others have questioned why other formative elements of his life was missed out, if a film is good enough though, surely it will engage those who have seen and enjoyed it to look into it further, using the medium we are now, the internet?

Con O'Neill is excellent as the troubled Meek, he has to dominate the film and this he does. While it's true that others in the story were sometimes rather younger than the actors playing them, remember back in this period, the 'teenager' as we now understand it, was only starting to emerge, young people then still often looked, acted, dressed older.

They usually left school at 14-15, at around 18 (like Meek) many had to do military service, hand me down clothes from parents were common. All this was changing, as part of the social changes sign posted by the music, which Meek played a part in but, as shown by his dismissal of The Beatles he was doomed not to recognise fully and play a further part in.

Meek was the British Phil Spector. But he, as the film well shows, did not enjoy the financial rewards of hits, but both were innovative, reclusive, obsessive and dangerous around firearms. (Given just how many times Spector drew guns on some of the most famous music stars, as well as lovers, business associates, was anyone really surprised at the tragic events at Spector's home in 2003, I certainly thought 'he's finally done it'.)

Most music or music based biopics fail as films, while 'Telstar' is not up there with the stunning exception that is Ian Curtis biopic 'Control', it's way better than 'Great Balls Of Fire'.

I was certainly kept engaged by this film.


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