Newley's up-and-down career got a boost in this well-made picture based on a TV drama in England named "Sammy." It was later done on US TV as "Eddie," but Hughes went back to the original name of the protagonist for this film version. Newley is a fast-talking master of ceremonies in a
tawdry Soho strip joint where tired businessmen rest their eyes by ogling voluptuous dancers in the afternoon. Oily Stephens owns the club and keeps Newley in check. Newley is a gambler and owes about $800 to Warren, a tough bookie. He has to come up with the pounds or the gangster's musclemen
will rearrange his face for him. The time limit to find the cash is about five hours. Newley tries to extract the money from his brother Mitchell, a hard-working delicatessen owner, but Mitchell's wife, Karlin, won't allow it because Newley has been in trouble before and always turns to Mitchell
to bail him out. (Mitchell was to become one of the most beloved TV stars in England when he played in the hit show "Till Death Us Do Part," which became the basis for the smash "All In The Family.") Newley is desperate and tries to get some money in a fast series of shady schemes, but none of
them seems to work out and, as the time grows short, he begins to fear for his existence. Foster is a naive girl from the north of England who comes to London because Newley had promised to help her with a show business career some time before. It was an idle promise at best, but she believed him
and has arrived. In order to help Newley, she will do a striptease for the boss, Stephens. Newley has some semblance of morality, so he tells her to forget it and sees her to a bus station with the vague pledge that he'll get in touch with her sometime down the line. Newley's plots begin to pay
off, but all he has is a check and no cash, and when Warren's men--Brambell, Locke, and Bowler--arrive, he accepts his beating, then reflects that he still has most of the money and that the beating, which he survived, was not as bad as he thought. Now he has enough money to start all over again.
Newley doesn't sing at all, and his desire to direct is not seen as he accepts Hughes' suggestions and turns in one of his best acting jobs, with little of the mugging and eyebrow twisting which have served him poorly in other movies. When Newley can be properly handled (no easy task), he can be
superior. But once he is allowed to overplay and go into his patented, mannered tricks, he becomes a parody of himself. Hughes did well by Newley and vice versa, and the result is an interesting, sometimes funny look at the underbelly of Soho.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Newley's up-and-down career got a boost in this well-made picture based on a TV drama in England named "Sammy." It was later done on US TV as "Eddie," but Hughes went back to the original name of the protagonist for this film version. Newley is a fast-talk… (more)