Billy Gil graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and has worked for People and Daily Variety. He is the editor of the Pipeline section and IndieFile, both of which highlight independent films on DVD. For IndieFile tips and inquiries, email email@example.com. For inclusion on IndieFile's Feedroom channel, contact Renee Rosado (firstname.lastname@example.org). Follow IndieFile on Twitter, at Twitter.com/IndieFile.
Herman’s Hermits Films Come Out of Hiding23 May, 2011 By: Billy Gil
Peter Noone led English beat band Herman’s Hermits in the 1960s to worldwide stardom on the strength of jangly hits such as “I’m Into Something Good” and “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat.” Not as serious as the Beatles nor as goofy as The Monkees, the band nonetheless engaged in the trend prevalent at the time of making movies as a band.
Warner Archive has released two of those films: Hold On! and Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter at $19.95 each. They are available at www.warnerarchive.com.
Noone, who led the band and provided its distinctive ultra-British accent, says it was refreshing to look back on the goodhearted films.
“It makes us look better than we really were,” he joked. “It makes us look like we knew what we were actually doing, which wasn’t true. We had no idea how a movie was supposed to be made; we were a rock ‘n’ roll band.”
Noone remembers director Authur Lubin asking him what a good Herman’s Hermits song would be as the band traveled off to space in Hold On!, which co-starred Shelley Fabares. The film includes their hits “Hold On!” and “A Must to Avoid.”
“I remember the Hermits and I looked at each other and said, ‘This is the script?’” he said.
Although Noone had been a TV actor before (and after) leading his band, the rest of the band — Keith Hopwood (guitar, vocals), Karl Green (bass), Derek “Lek” Leckenby (guitar, vocals) and Barry “Bean” Whitwam (drums) — had no idea what they were doing, Noone said.
“They’re all done with a great sense of fun. Like, the Hermits learning lines and then walking out and saying them,” Noone joked. “They had no experience in that. They didn’t know you had to read the whole script. But it was all a wonderful experience.”
Noone said the band primarily focused on making the music. Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter includes “There’s a Kind of Hush” and the title cut, which was a No. 1 U.S. hit.
“We had seen all those Elvis Presley movies, and we knew what they really wanted was a soundtrack,” Noone said. “So we just concentrated on making the music really, really good. So if you didn’t see the movie you would still buy the record.
“In those days the Beatles had made a movie, and they weren’t actors; they were just being amusing and fun,” he added. “You know all those ‘run away from girls’ scenes? We slowed down for the healthy ones.”
Noone said fans have been clamoring for the titles on DVD for years now.
“The last copy I got was on VHS, and who’s got one of those now?” Noone said. “I’ve already signed a couple at concerts.”