It Couldn’t Happen Here 1987 ****

The sole cinematic entry for the Pet Shop Boys, It Couldn’t Happen Here was originally known as A Hard days Shopping, and it’s to director Jack Bond’s credit that the result is as idiosyncratic as The Beatles film. Plotting takes second place to a Fellini-style phantasmagoria of British seaside life, mixing past, present and abstract surrealism as it ropes in Catholic guilt via Joss Ackland’s sinister priest, comedic turns against a sea-side setting from Barbara Windsor and the late Gareth Hunt (‘Bit of a laugh, no harm done’) , and a ventriloquists dummy with a penchant for existential chat. Bond’s gift as a documentary film-maker lends a strange authenticity to the contrasted memories of childhood contrasted with Thatcher’s Britain, and the whole project is garlanded with hit songs, cleverly mixed.


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