January 23, 1998 at 05:00 AM EST

Expresso Bongo

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
performer
Cliff Richard, Laurence Harvey, Sylvia Syms
genre
Comedy

EXPRESSO BONGO Laurence Harvey, Cliff Richard, Sylvia Syms (1959, Kino, unrated, $24.95) This wry showbiz satire takes us back through London hipster history, before the swinging ’60s days of Austin Powers, to the late-’50s world of Soho beats, finger-snapping teddy boys, and their sleazy fellow travelers. Among the sleaziest is Harvey as small-time talent manager Johnny Jackson, who promotes a DA’d bongo player (a ridiculously young Cliff Richard) into pure Elvis-clone gold. Harvey’s chutzpah knows no bounds as he fast-talks new clients, wheedles free dinners, and patronizes teen rebellion. In the most buoyant performance of his career, he exudes a cynicism so rakish and shameless you can’t help hoping his scams pan out. When they don’t, his frenetic charm compensates for his squaresville comeuppance. B

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