Melody | S.W.A.L.K. (1971) | Home Ent release

April 8th, 2017
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Waris Hussein | Writer: Alan Parker | Cast: Mark Lester, Tracy Hyde, Jack Wild | Drama | UK | 103min

BAFTA Award-winning director Alan Parker started out as an advertising copywriter before moving on to shooting commercials and then directing his own scripts for hits such as Bugsy Malone, The Commitments, Midnight Express and Angel Heart. SWALK (later renamed Melody) was his first ever script, directed by Warris Hussein. A modern answer to Romeo and Juliet, SWALK went on to be one of the 70s best-loved childhood rom-coms with its nostalgic tale of first love and teenage rebellion in a London comprehensive. Co-stars Mark Lester (Latimer) and Jack Wild (Ornshaw) had already worked together on the 1968 musical film adaptation of Oliver! and love interest Tracy Hyde (Melody) was only 11 at the time.

The chalk and cheese bromance at the film’s core is threatened when Latimer falls for Melody Perkins at a school disco. But when they announce their wish to get married (as you do at 14!) their parents’ and teachers’ efforts to dissuade them only make the two more keen on the idea – so much so that Ornshaw decides to facilitate the union by staging a ‘wedding’ in a secret hideout, leading to an riotous finale.

Alan Parker’s script shows how it was to be a child in the early ’70s in the same spirit as did Ken Loach in Kes . An atmospheric soundtrack from the Bee Gees and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Legendary DoP completes the era complementing Peter Suschitzky’s striking visuals in and around the Brompton Cemetery, Battersea Funfair, Trafalgar Square and Soho. MT


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