Idol on Parade (1959) Poster

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9/10
Early pop comedy that made Newley a teen idol!
musical-210 April 1999
This movie was intended as a spoof of Elvis' entry to the army with Newley playing an "idol" called Jeep Jackson. The great British public took the film seriously however and overnight Anthony Newley, former child actor became a fully fledged adult actor/pop singer. The film is a delightful comedy in the same vein as Carry On Sergeant with the added bonus of four musical numbers performed by Newley. Look out for many star faces who later had very successful careers of their own - Sid James, Bernie Winters and Harry Fowler! Pure nostalgia enjoy! Posted by Paul Goodhead - President of the Anthony Newley Appreciation Society.
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8/10
The Gods who look after actors are capricious indeed
ianlouisiana14 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
One of the enchantments of British Cinema is that scattered throughout its somewhat chequered history in the most unexpected places are little flecks of pure gold like "Idol on Parade". Made by a journeyman director,co-starring an elderly American has-been and an English former child star there is absolutely no reason to expect it to be anything but hack work.Hastily put together to cash in on the public appetite for stories along the "Elvis joins the U.S. Army" lines,"Idol on Parade" should have at best,made a few bob for everybody and been quietly forgotten.But that strange and rare alchemy that no one can predict but everyone can recognise worked its way through the production.Mr William Bendix took on a new lease of life,Mr Lionel Jeffries invented the character that would ensure him a comfortable niche in films for the next 20 years and Mr Anthony Newley a young wily old pro,at last graduated into a major star - albeit not perhaps in the field he had imagined. As Jeep Jackson the conscript pop star.Mr Newley,naturally enough,had to sing a few songs.They were an immediate success and a new aspect to his career had begun. The film itself proved to be very popular with British audiences,deftly directed by John Gilling whose career was sufficiently eclectic to embrace "Old Mother Riley" and "Department S".It was tuneful and it was funny,John Antrobus,later a long-time collaborator with Spike Milligan co-wrote the script. Mr Newley was a performer who defied categorisation.Sometimes he appeared too big for the movies,too ready to push the envelope.Perhaps he was most at home with a live audience where he could depart from the script if the fancy took him.Two years after making "Idol on Parade" he was in the ground breaking "Stop the world - I want to get off".I was lucky enough to see it in the West End early in 1962.Surrounded by a stunning Sean Kenny set,dressed in a black leotard,Mr Newley gave one of the two best performances I have ever seen in the theatre(the other was John Gielgud as Prospero in the 1957 Drury Lane production of "The Tempest").Without the success of "Idol on Parade" I doubt if "Stop the World" would have happened,and a lot of lives would be very different. The gods who look after actors are capricious indeed.
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8/10
It took me back in time 48 years..........
davidcorne2459 July 2007
This film has never to my knowledge been available officially on video or DVD and it's a film that has stayed in my mind for years as one of those I always wanted to see again. Well, the opportunity arose recently and I was transported back 48 years or so ago to my local Odeon where I first saw it. It doesn't disappoint and though somewhat dated it still makes me chuckle and the songs are not bad either. The film has a feel good factor and has a plethora of well known British actors of the time including David Lodge, Harry Fowler, Lionel Jeffries and the lovely Anne Aubrey. The token American role is given to William Bendix who is very convincing as an Irish Sergeant Major. The star role is of course the likable Anthony Newley who went on to become a big success in the States as well as the UK and many people of my age group would like to have a DVD of this film, but perhaps they're waiting till we're all dead before they release it!
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my dad was in it
markevans-welshman8 July 2004
this was a great film. it was filmed in my fathers barracks and him and his mates from the welsh guards appear as extras on the parade square, naafi and cook house scenes. I would love a copy of this film to show his grand kids....that would be so cool.... can anyone help?

i was about 8yrs old when i saw it and my mother made us sit down and watch it...i thought anthony newley was my dad!!!! he was better looking than my father!! The film has great songs and a really funny scene where the men have to shout out commands on parade. jeep jackson lost his voice but was clearly the loudest. Anthony newley plays the role brilliantly and was my mothers pop idol!!
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Spoof of 'pop star is drafted into the Army'
didi-515 October 2011
Former child star Anthony Newley found his career took quite a different path once he was cast as 'Jeep Jackson' in this fun pop musical.

'Jeep' is a rising star who is drafted into the Army and spends the rest of the time trying to avoid being an 'Idol on Parade' (the original UK title was 'Idle on Parade' but either suits the subject matter perfectly). His sergeant is played by American import William Bendix (as Irish), while another 'Private Jackson' is played by comedy stooge Bernie Winters (who appeared a lot with Newley in other films and TV shows).

The best bits of the film though are the songs, the title itself, 'I've Waited So Long', and 'Saturday Night'. These make the film a feel-good romp, especially so for Newley fans - he shines in this without over-dominating the screen as he would in future years. Following 'Idol on Parade' Newley would appear in 'Jazzboat', 'The Small World of Sammy Lee', 'The Strange World of Gurney Slade' (for TV), and 'Sweet November'.

Following his pop career success in the 60s Newley moved into writing musicals and eventually appearing in cabaret shows. In many ways he became a sell-out, joke version of his earlier self, but if you want to see Newley in embryo, with evidence of how talented he was, see 'Gurney Slade' and see 'Idol on Parade'. Wonderful stuff.
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6/10
British Elvis Goes In The Military
bkoganbing29 April 2009
Poor Elvis Presley. Had he realized he could have done his military obligation and not have to put a career on hold, he might very well have become a British subject.

Elvis's being drafted into the army was world wide news back in the day and the British sought to take advantage of it with this film, Idol On Parade. It casts Anthony Newley as a young British rock and roller who has to do his national service and even being a teen idol won't get him out of it.

His status causes no end of grief to Captain Lionel Jeffries and the drill sergeant William Bendix. Around this time Bendix went over across the pond and made a few features for the British film industry. He mastered an Irish accent quite well for the part. I wouldn't have thought anyone as American urban as Bill Bendix could have carried it off, but he did.

The interesting thing I found was that I had just finished reading Tommy Steele's memoirs, Bermondsey Boy, where Steele goes into some detail about his national service. He eschewed military service for the sea, serving as a steward on one of her Majesty's ocean liners. Actually some of what Tommy had to say would make an interesting film.

Newley fits the role well as a teen idol and the lovely Anne Aubrey who is Jeffries's daughter in the film is his romantic interest. That's part, but only part of the story of Idol On Parade.
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6/10
Clive Dunn
r_hewitt29 July 2018
Early appearance by Clive Dunn. Plays a reporter early in the film. Uncredited.
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4/10
Genial British military-training comedy with rock-a-boogie asides...
moonspinner5528 April 2009
Although based upon a book by William Camp, this Albert Broccoli-produced service comedy seems to trail on the tail-end of the real-life Elvis Presley induction story. There's confusion within the British Army when a pop singing star is called upon for service, creating havoc within the ranks; seems the idol's managers don't want their client's fame to fade, smuggling him out of the barracks at different intervals to perform or record new songs. This must be the most relaxed Army Regiment on film! William Bendix gives the best performance as a blow hard sergeant with a soft spot, but Anthony Newley is improbably cast in the leading role. Newley's cabaret mannerisms were just starting to form at this time, and though he performs his song numbers smoothly, he isn't the dynamic powerhouse of Elvis (nor, indeed, any of Elvis' general competition of this era). Newley is actually the antithesis of rock 'n roll, however he does handle the comedy routines with charm and there are some amusing bits and pieces. ** from ****
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4/10
idol on parade
quadrophenia-6952415 February 2020
Warning: Spoilers
I watched this film and it was okay the main lead is a singer who is either drafted into the army or joins as part of national service as was the thing that happen in those days and he is doing basic training for the army but some folks out in the world want him to be a singer and smuggle him out so that he can continue singing funny in parts i like the bit where he is singing in the officers mess and the sgt major shout your idol then he continues on singing then the captain shouts your idol then he continues on singing then the sgt major starts dancing to the song he is singing that was funny
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2/10
"Isn't Rock-a-Boogie Scintillating?"
richardchatten24 October 2019
It's most appropriate that the exteriors in this excruciating comedy with music are plainly shot in very cold and bleak weather, since that seems to sum up the drab pre-Beatles era that spawned this abomination.

William Bendix is bizarrely cast as a rather soppy Irish-accented British army sergeant, while it's hard to believe that husky-voiced C.O.'s daughter Anne Aubrey would find Anthony Newley so adorable (although a succession of English roses were supposedly equally charmed by Norman Wisdom throughout the same period). As usual the supporting cast of Britons (including a couple of very fleeting appearances by Susan Hampshire) maintains the interest and one keeps forgetting that Sid James is in it until he briefly pops up again; like most agents!
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4/10
Rushed script
Leofwine_draca26 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Britain seemed to push out a ton of these army comedies in the late 1950s, perhaps due to the success of THE ARMY GAME on television. IDOL ON PARADE is one of the weaker ones I've watched, one which strives hard to build a head of steam around the presence of real-life pop star Anthony Newley playing a, well, pop star who finds himself conscripted into the army. The usual battles with tight authority figures ensues, along with plenty of boisterous behaviour and the like. There are some good actors in reliable support - David Lodge, Lionel Jeffries, and Sid James - but the script feels more than rushed and the whole thing has a middling feel.
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6/10
Based on Terry Dene
malcolmgsw27 September 2018
Dene was a rock n roll star of the fifties.He was called up for National Service.However he only lasted 2 months before being discharged for mental health reasons.This comic slant on the situation is still quite fun,even though Newley is about 10 years to old for the role.William Bendix was one of my favourite actors,though good in this part was about 10 years too old.I liked Lionel Jefferies too but here he goes just a bit too far over the top.
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7/10
The British Bye Bye Birdie
LCShackley30 April 2009
From what I can tell, this film is barely known at all in the USA, where the title is spelled IDOL on Parade. I just caught it on AMC, having been intrigued by the pairing of Anthony Newley with American character actor William Bendix (who uses an Irish accent in his role as a drill sergeant).

IDLE ON PARADE was released a year BEFORE "Bye Bye Birdie" hit Broadway, and starts with the same basic premise: a teenage pop idol gets drafted. "Birdie" focuses on what happens BEFORE the idol's enlistment, while "Idle" is about his experiences in the service. The fairly predictable plot surrounds Newley with stereotyped military characters, and a love interest (a girl who is of course the daughter of the C.O.). Conflicts arise when his agent (James) tries to spring him out of camp to fulfil singing commitments. One such gig ends up in a brawl; probably the funniest scene in the picture.

Newley was too old for this role; he looks and sounds like a lounge singer rather than a teen heartthrob (remember: the Beatles were already together when this film was made). But he has charisma and good chemistry with the rest of the cast. The songs are hokey Brit attempts to mimic rockabilly music, but when the lyrics parody military life, they're funny enough. What makes IDLE really click is the supporting cast, including Bendix, hatchet-faced Lionel Jeffries, and comic stand-bys Sid James and Dilys Laye. There are many funnier military spoofs, and many better musicals, but IDLE ON PARADE is a pleasant enough diversion to keep you from going AWOL.
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