Wednesday, 18 May 2011

London on film: five great musicals

1. The Young Ones (1961)
Freewheeling fun as Cliff Richard's Nicky and chums, including Melvyn Hayes and The Shadows, use pirate radio to promote a fundraising concert to save their youth club. The catch? The evil property developer threatening their venue is Nicky's dad (played by Robert Morley). It spawned further big-screen outings for Cliff and The Shadows in quick succession: Summer Holiday (1963), Wonderful Life (1964) and Finders Keepers (1966). Key location: Paddington

2. My Fair Lady (1964)
Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion premiered on Broadway in 1956. Original star Rex Harrison reprised his role as confirmed bachelor 'enry 'iggins for the film version, which also stars Audrey Hepburn, whose singing was dubbed by Marni Nixon. Key location: Covent Garden, pictured

3. Absolute Beginners (1986)
Pop video director and documentarist Julien Temple created a colourful 1950s London for this adaptation of the first book in Colin MacInnes's great trilogy. Musicians David Bowie, Ray Davies, Smiley Culture, Tenpole Tudor and Sade star and contribute to the soundtrack, among others. Leads Patsy Kensit and Eddie O'Connell are disappointing in a likeable, if mistimed, gamble. Key location: Soho

4. Mary Poppins (1964)
Never mind Dick Van Dyke's defining accent or Juile Andrews' terrifying mumsiness, this is all about David Tomlinson's lovely turn as the put-upon banker who doesn't dare turn his back on the corporate world. Includes songs Chim-Chim-Cheree, A Spoonful of Sugar and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Key location: the Bank of England

5. Oliver! (1968)
Lionel Bart's adaptation of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist took to the London stage in 1960, before being revived more recently in the West End with famous names in the controversial Fagin role. Star Mark Lester can be spotted as a schoolboy in François Truffaut's Ray Bradbury adaptation Fahrenheit 451 (1966). Key location: The Thames

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