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Rancid Popcorn » The Bit I Like More Than Maybe I Should #2

The Bit I Like More Than Maybe I Should #2

The song “It’s Legal”, from Beat Girl (Greville, 1959)

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This is a British film – if it were American, I’d call it a J.D. film, I don’t know if the same term holds over there. I know these days they certainly don’t call such kids Juvvies over there, they call them ASBOs.
The whole film deserves a post of its own, and I hope to come back to it some day, but for now I’ll mention one part: the song “It’s Legal”.

The music is by John Barry. This would be the multiple academy award winning John Barry. Goldfinger, Born Free, etc. That John Barry. This was his first movie work. There are a few performed songs in it, most by heartthrob Adam Faith, who plays one of the young toughs. The song, It’s Legal, however, is performed by Shirley Anne Field, a supporting actress in the film. She had a nice little career, especially in the 60s, with important roles in things like Alfie and Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. But it’s not like she went on to cut more records – she’s not a pro singer. She acts like someone who’s singing more than just simply singing, if you know what I mean. She delivers it with more than a touch of Marilyn Monroe-esque breathlessness. And like a Marilyn song, it’s at least half-silly before she even opens her mouth.

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The kids are all hangin’ around someone’s house, having a makeout and slowdance party. Adam Faith, on the floor, has an idea. He calls out to Shirley and orders her to give ’em a song.
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Shirley’s rolling around on top of some dude on the couch, but pulls away upon receipt of orders. She wanders to the center of the room, looking a bit stoned.
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Sample lyric:
Darlin’ hold me close to you
There ain’t a thing that they can do
It’s legal…
It’s legal…

Such bad kids!

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Adam picks up his guitar and adds accompaniment.
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Good job shaving your pits this morning, Shirley!

Look, I can’t exactly tell you why I like this as much as I do. I’m fond of the absurd, and that’s right about where we are. These kids are about the right age, and some actual dangerous behavior does break out, but these troubled teens are still about as genuine as Frankie and Annette. I’m vexed to find this scene isn’t available on Youtube, but the opening music/credits are, and they do a pretty fair job of conveying the attitude. Enjoy!

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