|Directed by||Desmond Davis|
|Produced by||Roy Millichip|
|Written by||George Melly|
|Music by||John Addison|
|Edited by||Barrie Vince|
Selmur Pictures (as Selmur Productions)
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
Smashing Time is a 1967 British colour comedy film starring Rita Tushingham and Lynn Redgrave. It is a satire on the 1960s media-influenced phenomenon of Swinging London. It was written by George Melly and directed by Desmond Davis. The supporting cast includes Ian Carmichael, Michael York, Jeremy Lloyd, Anna Quayle, Irene Handl, Arthur Mullard and Geoffrey Hughes.
Brenda (Rita Tushingham) and Yvonne (Lynn Redgrave), two girls from the North of England, arrive in London to seek fame and fortune. However, their image of the city is quickly tarnished when they are robbed of their savings by a tramp. Determined not to let her chance slip, Yvonne visits Carnaby Street in the hope of catching the eye of a trendy photographer, whilst Brenda has to stay behind and do the washing up in a greasy spoon café after the girls cannot afford to pay.
Yvonne has a romantic meeting with Bobby Mome-Rath (Ian Carmichael) while Brenda hides under the bed and a man spies through a hole in the ceiling. Bobby has a bubble bath which gets out of control.
Brenda goes to an exclusive design shop called "Too Much" where she is asked to prepare for a party. Everyone coming in is forced to buy something. Although she sells a lot the owner isn't pleased as it leaves nothing for the party-goers to see. At the party Brenda meets a trendy photographer, Tom Wabe (Michael York), who asks her out to dinner. The restaurant does not seem to serve any food and has a barber shop theme, being named Sweeny Todds. A custard pie fight starts at the party and spreads to the streets. Yvonne (in Nell Gwynne outfit) is blamed for starting the pie fight and fired.
The girls watch a Candid Camera-style TV show on a television in a shop window entitled "You Can't Stop Laughing" in which an old lady has her house demolished as a joke. The girls wander on to the set and Yvonne inexplicably wins a cheque for £10,000. She decides to invest the prize money in becoming a pop star. Although the live recording of her single, "I'm So Young", is patently awful, it becomes highly polished after mixing, and Yvonne's out-of-tune voice is put in tune. It becomes a big hit and Yvonne becomes a star appearing on other programmes like Juke Box Jury.
Yvonne and Brenda drift apart. As Tom Wabe's new girlfriend, Brenda goes to dinner on his canal barge home and stays the night. They spend the next day taking photos and she goes on to become a top model, while Yvonne's popularity wanes. Yvonne throws a plate at the TV when she sees Brenda in an advert for a new perfume called "Direct Action".
At a glamorous and star-studded party for Yvonne at the top of the Post Office Tower, Yvonne sits alone while everyone else enjoys themselves. Brenda watches the party on TV and sees Tom arrive and get mobbed by adoring girls. She gatecrashes the party only to see Yvonne humiliated when she falls in her own giant cake. Brenda finds the control to the revolving restaurant and turns it to full speed ending the party.
The girls walk away in the early morning and decide to return home.
- Rita Tushingham as Brenda
- Lynn Redgrave as Yvonne
- Michael York as Tom Wabe
- Anna Quayle as Charlotte Brillig
- Irene Handl as Mrs. Gimble
- Ian Carmichael as Bobby Mome-Rath
- Jeremy Lloyd as Jeremy Tove
- Toni Palmer as Toni
- George A. Cooper as Irishman
- Peter Jones as Dominic the game show host
- Arthur Mullard as Cafe Boss
- Ronnie Stevens as 1st Waiter
- John Clive as Sweeney Todd Manager
- Mike Lennox as Disc Jockey
- Sydney Bromley as Tramp
- David Lodge as The Caretaker
- Amy Dalby as Old lady whose house is demolished
- Murray Melvin as 1st Exquisite
- Bruce Lacey as Clive Sword
- Cardew Robinson as Custard-Pie Vicar
- Tomorrow as The Snarks
- Paul Danquah as 2nd Exquisite
- Michael Ward as Elderly Shop Owner
- Sam Kydd as Workman
- Geoffrey Hughes as Workman
- Jerold Wells as Workman
- Veronica Carlson as Actress at Party
- Valerie Leon as Tove's Secretary
The film reunited Redgrave, Tushingham and director Davis from the 1964 film Girl with Green Eyes. Similarly, Murray Melvin and Paul Danquah, Tushingham's co-stars in A Taste of Honey, appear in cameo roles as boutique shop customers. Geoffrey Hughes, later to become familiar to millions as Eddie Yeats in Coronation Street, appears as a workman. The then-popular BBC series Juke Box Jury is parodied as Hi-Fi Court, and the UK version of the hidden camera series Candid Camera is parodied as You Can't Help Laughing!
Private Eye magazine at the time referred to the Queen and Princess Margaret as, respectively, Brenda and Yvonne. Some of the characters' names are borrowed from Lewis Carroll's poetry, chiefly the nonsense poem Jabberwocky: Charlotte Brillig, Tom Wabe, Mrs Gimble, Bobby Mome-Rath, Jeremy Tove, Toni Mimsy, and The Snarks (the rock band played by Tomorrow). Additionally, the futuristic art exhibition is held at the Jabberwock Gallery.
The film was nominated for a Golden Globe (Best English-Language Foreign Film) in 1968. The theme tune was sung by Tushingham and Redgrave, who also performed several of the numbers in the film. In the 1993 BBC series Hollywood UK, about the British film industry in the 1960s, the actresses appeared in the back of a London taxi singing the theme again.
The film performed poorly at the box office and ABC recorded a loss of $710,000. The film critic Alexander Walker noted that the film arrived too late to parody 'Swinging London' as the fad was already dead.
- "ABC's 5 Years of Film Production Profits & Losses", Variety, 31 May 1973 p 3
- Walker, Alexander (1974) Hollywood England: The British Film Industry in the Sixties, Michael Joseph.