A semi-autobiographical project by John Boorman about a nine year old boy called Bill as he grows up in London during the blitz of World War II. For a young boy, this time in history was ... See full summary »
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
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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