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Great music, but no drama; Films.

Byline: GRAHAM YOUNG

TELSTAR - THE JOE MEEK STORY (15) Verdict: THE TRAGIC story of Britain's equivalent to Phil Spector is the heartbeat of a 60s period movie that's only playing at the Erdington and Dudley Showcases.

But, despite the music, this disappoints like The Boat That Rocked and the Brian Jones story featured in Stoned..

A labour of love for Lock, Stock actor turned director Nick Moran, the claustrophobic sets and clever period touches work well, with much of the action set above a Holloway Road handbag shop run by Violet Shenton (Pam Ferris).

Upstairs, Joe Meek is creating history, achieving sound effects on just two tracks which still resonate today.

As well as helping The Tornados to become the first British band to have a No.1 hit in the US with Telstar, Meek influenced a whole generation of musicians. But the overlong 119-minute story is somehow not that interesting, even though Meek was gay, tone deaf and unable to play anything of note.

The end credit notes are far more interesting than the film's sea of unfamiliar characters, from drummer Clem Cattini (James Corden) to Major Banks (Kevin Spacey), who later made money out of plastic wheelie bins and arti- ficial Christmas trees.

The Royle Family's Ralph Little is Chas Hodges (later of Chas 'n' Dave) and former Darkness star Justin

Hawkins briefly appears as Screaming Lord Sutch.

From the stage play, Con O'Neill excels in the lead role.

But the injustice of Meek's financial problems lacks drama. Only an end-credit note about the timing of his death adds a poignancy sadly lacking in the script.

Bizarrely, Meek died in 1967 on February 3 - echoing Buddy Holly's death in a plane crash in 1959 on the same day Phil Spector was to shoot Lana Jean Clarkson in 2003. Spooky.

GRAHAM YOUNG

CAPTION(S):

Band mates: Carl Barat as Gene Vincent, Ralph Little as Chas Hodges, James Corden as Clem Cattini and Mathew Baynton as Ritchie Blackmore.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jun 19, 2009
Words:328
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