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Expresso Bongo

Where to Watch Expresso Bongo


Expresso Bongo from 1959 is a British satirical film that serves as a captivating commentary on the hustle and bustle of the 1950s music industry. The film ingeniously combines the genres of comedy, music and drama to create a heartwarming tale of ambition, fame, and the price that comes with it. This energetic flick features Laurence Harvey, Sylvia Syms, and Yolande Donlan in the leading roles, with each delivering riveting performances that never cease to capture the viewer's attention.

Directed by Val Guest, Expresso Bongo is set against the backdrop of London's vibrant entertainment scene. The narrative follows the journey of Johnny Jackson, portrayed by Laurence Harvey. Jackson is a fast-talking, ambitious talent scout and part-time talent manager, always on the lookout for his next big discovery.

The film takes a turn when Jackson discovers a young man named Bert Rudge (Cliff Richard), performing on a bongo in London's Soho district. Jackson immediately sees potential in Rudge and genuinely believes that he could be the next big sensation in the world of entertainment. Rudge, who showcases an innocent and endearing persona, is unaware of the dynamics of the music industry and the extents to which people like Jackson can go to ensure their success.

Rudge soon finds himself launched into sudden popularity under the stage name "Bongo Herbert," which is a carefully curated image by Johnny. This meteoric rise treads a careful balance between comedy and drama, and draws an engaging picture of ambition in an industry notorious for minting stars overnight.

The performances in Expresso Bongo truly stand out. Laurence Harvey, backdropped by his London cockney accent, plays the driven and ambitious Jackson with great finesse. He is both charming and sleazy, embodying the relentless ambition that often characterizes agents in the world of music. Sylvia Syms playing Jackson’s long suffering girlfriend, Maisie King, also adds depth and sincerity to the film with a marvelous performance.

The film is further energized by the appearance of Yolande Donlan, who takes on the role of an American starlet. Donlan exudes allure with her glamorous on-screen presence, providing an excellent counterweight to the frantic world of the music industry. When she encounters Bongo during his rise to stardom, the narrative expands to capture a broader picture of fame, both its attractions and ensuing complexities.

Expresso Bongo has a keen eye on the intricacies of the music industry, effortlessly blending light-hearted comedy with the serious undertones that come with fame and fortune. Along with delivering some engaging musical numbers played by Cliff Richard himself, the film, at its core, comments on the rapid manufacturing and discarding of stars in the society.

Despite being set in the 50s era, the film’s themes are timeless and relatable even to contemporary audiences. The concept of overnight fame coupled with the inherent exploitative attitude of the industry is something cinema-goers can recognize in any era.

Expresso Bongo uses its sharp wit and engaging characters to offer a biting critique of the world of music and how instant fame can drastically impact individuals. Through its narrative, it explores how individuals navigate the cutthroat world of fame and how these surroundings play an instrumental role in shaping their destiny, including an examination of the impact of sudden success on personal relationships.

Aside from its engaging story, the tone of Expresso Bongo reflects an authentic commentary on post-war Britain and the ensuing social changes. Its portrayal of the entertainment industry in London during the mid-20th century provides an intriguing snapshot of the emerging pop culture.

Expresso Bongo stands as a gem among British satires of the 1950s. Its snappy dialogue, memorable characters, and enticing plot make it compelling to watch. The film is a time capsule, capturing a particular ethos of a bygone era while providing universal themes that resonate today. It remains a film that offers both entertainment and a look at the unfiltered realities of fame.

Expresso Bongo is a Drama, Music movie released in 1959. It has a runtime of 111 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.2..

How to Watch Expresso Bongo

Where can I stream Expresso Bongo movie online? Expresso Bongo is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon Prime, Tubi TV, The Roku Channel, Kanopy, Apple TV, Amazon, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Expresso Bongo for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Val Guest
Cliff Richard, Hermione Baddeley
Also starring Sylvia Syms
Expresso Bongo is available on .