Talking Pictures – Not quite a Double Bill


That wonderful Television channel we have here in England Talking Pictures has certainly been a great hit with us Film fans of those classic film years.


Today they showed a film I have featured on here a few times before – Duel In the Jungle – and that was followed by the late great Billy Fury in Play It Cool.



ABOVE – a scene from the film’s climax – this is the studio set bit that was used along with African Location filming

Duel In The Jungle 1954 - was a quite big budget production in Colour – and much of it shot on location in Africa

I have seen information on imdb that Duel In Tne Jungle  was produced by Donna Reed and her husband Tony Owens – with their production company Todon  - but I can find no reference to Todon - so have no idea of the other similar films they financed. Todon, a company of Tony Owens and his wife Donna Reed which produced The Donna Reed Show for Television some years later.

Play It Cool Billy Fury


Billy Fury with Anna Palk


‘Play It Cool’ was directed by Michael Winner who had a great respect for Billy Fury who was not a trained actor but did extremely well in this very much ‘above average’ film of it’s type.

This was one of if not the best pop music films to come out of 60s Britain with Billy Fury

It is true that many very poor pop music films were produced in Britain in the early 1960s. Play It Cool is not, however, a poor film. It has a charm, drive and integrity that singles it out from the dross. Billy Fury never claimed to be a natural actor. In interviews, he said repeatedly that he was keen to take cameo roles that gave him the opportunity to focus with intensity on his character.

Billy Fury


ABOVE – A Publicity Still from ‘Play it Cool’

However, Play It Cool placed on his shoulders the responsibility of accepting the entire focus of the plot, and he brought energy and imagination to the role. Michael Winner has often remarked on the respect he felt for Billy Fury in accepting a star role in a medium that was so foreign to him, and in delivering such a performance.

His next film ‘I’ve Gotta Horse’ was made in 1965 and then came  That’ll Be The Day – quite a bit later -where Billy has a cameo role as Stormy Tempest a singer at a holiday camp. That one had Ringo Starr as well as David Essex.

Anna Palk


ABOVE Anna Palk

In ‘Play it Cool’ Billy’s girl in the film was Anna Palk who I remember well from the Television Series ‘The Main Chance’ with John Stride.  Sadly she died quite young in 1990 aged only49.


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