Some People (1962)
Some People offers a rather interesting insight in to early sixties youth culture, as well as touching upon the class divide in post war Britain. It focuses on a group of working class youths (Ray Brooks, David Hemmings and David Andrews) who after being banned from driving, are somewhat at a loose end and heading for trouble. Their fortunes change when a local choirmaster (Kenneth Moore) gives them an opportunity to use the church hall for band practice. However this is not a rags to riches story by any means. In many ways it’s quite the opposite as the narrative has a sense of inevitability about the protagonist’s long term prospects and overall fate.
It is easy to be side tracked by some of the superficial aspects of Some People. Obviously the beat music is very much a product of the time and the rebellious shenanigans of the cast are somewhat tame by contemporary standards. Yet the film clearly demonstrates the restrictive society of the post war era. Some of the comments made by the magistrates during the court scene reflect the prevailing socio-economic politics of era. Vicars, youth leaders and pretty much any other adult featured in the film are portrayed as authority figures desperate to maintain the status quo. There is also a rather melancholic plot theme about the generation gap. Ray Brook's father regrets not knowing his own son and realises that there's precious little he can do about it.
There's also a very liberal streak running through Some People. The great Kenneth Moore plays a progressive single parent who tries to offer the young people a way of defining themselves. The film strongly advocates the Duke of Edinburgh's Award as a means of doing this. Moore also takes a very modern attitude to his daughter’s involvement with Ray Brooks, trusting her to do the "right thing". There is a clear subtext that the class differential means that the relationship will not last. It’s implied that Moore's liberalism is a result of his academia, as he is an electrical engineer working in the aviation industry. Conversely, the most blinkered character with regard to politics and social mobility is shown to be Bill, one of the three lead young men. He maintains a “not for the likes of use” attitude which was still common at the time.
Some People is in some ways quite unique, being one of the first "Kitchen sink dramas" aimed at the youth market. Previous movies focusing on this demographic had a tendency to be American and although there was much common ground, they weren't fully applicable to a UK audience. Some People offered the genuine article for the British market. Overall it is a quite bold film for its time, considering that it was made in an era when scripts for UK productions were submitted to the BBFC in advance for approval. Director Clive Donner strayed into similar pop culture territory again with Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush but it lacked the earthy realism of Some People. Ironically five years later youth culture had evolved from a source of social concern into just a new commercial market.