Toomorrow (1970)

UK,
95m
35mm film, Technicolor, 2.35:1
mono, English

A British science fiction film directed by Val Guest.

Plot Summary

A group of penniless form a pop group to earn some extra money. They invent a “tonalizer” – a primitive synthesizer – which attracts the attention of the alien Alphoids whose culture is stagnating due to their soulless electronic music. Hoping to bring about universal harmony, the Alphoids abduct the band and take them back to their homeworld.

Credits

Crew
Directed by: Val Guest
© MCMCXX [1070] Sweet Music S.A.
Made for Lowndes Productions Limited
Produced by: Harry Saltzman and Don Kirshner
Written by: Val Guest
Director of Photography: Dick Bush
Editors: Alan Osbiston, Julien Caunter
Music Composed and Conducted by: Hugo Montenegro
Songs Composed and Written by: Ritchie Adams, Mark Barkan
Sound Recordists: Gordon Everett, Gordon McCallum
Costumes by: Ronald Paterson
Make-up Created by: Stuart Freeborn
Special Effects: John Stears
Optical Effects: Ray Caple, Cliff Culley
Production Designed by: Michael Stringer
Art Directors: Ernest Archer, Bert Davey

Cast
Toomorrow
Benny Thomas (Benny)
Karl Chambers (Karl)
Olivia Newton-John (Olivia)
Vic Cooper (Vic)

Roy Dotrice (John Williams)
Tracey Crisp (Suzanne Gilmore)
Imogen Hassall (Amy)
Margaret Nolan (Johnson)
Roy Marsden (Alpha)
Carl Rigg (Matthew)
Maria O'Brien (Françoise)
Kubi Chaza
Stuart Henry (Sam Apple Pie)

Press

1970
Today's Cinema no.9833 (21 August 1970) p.4
A throwback to the days of the teenage musical when clean limbed youngsters besported themselves in a never-never land of sunshine and roses. The occasional line of dialogue acknowledges that times have changed, and a tenuous link with today is provided by the introduction of a well-disciplined student sit-in, but the whole is as far removed from reality as Winnie the Pooh from a grizzly bear. Therein lies its charm for children and their parents. The special effects are spectacularly brilliant and the foursome who make up the pop group are lively and immensely likeable. The music they are called upon to play and the clothes they wear as performers are some years out of date but, despite these handicaps, they succeed in injecting fresh air into the stuffy atmosphere. Given greater freedom in a story that didn't make a mockery of their name, the three survivors (Karl Chambers having already left) could go far.

Daily Mirror 26 August 1970
If you dig the groove, baby, If you wanna do your own thing, chick, or insist on being solid, solid, solid then you'll probably find Toomorrow […] as old-fashioned as a tea cosy. But you don't have to be a square (though it perhaps may help) to find it a refreshing change to watch a film geared to the young which doesn't make them all out to be sex or dope maniacs. […] [T]he picture is dreamily jolly although pretty naive. The story, such as it is, drifts along pleasantly, with Roy Dotrice as “The Alphoid on Earth,” a kind of suave master of ceremonies. The pop group do their thing attractively and there are some very cuddlesome birds around such as Olivia Newton-John, Imogen Hassell, Margaret Nolan and a stunner named Tracey Crisp who plays a university professor. I'd go to evening classes to be taught
by her any time she cares to enrol me. – from an illustrated review (Groovy – even for squares…) by Dick Richards

Daily Mail 27 August 1970
In action [Toomorrow] are a likeable and tuneful lot, but their off-stage talk abounds in smart-Alick repartee eked out with the odd song title (I can dream, can't I? What made the film for me was the wide-eyed beauty of Olivia Newton-John, who plays the group's singing Girl Friday with a bubbling, impudent joie de vivre that stops nicely short of self-indulgence. – from a review (Bleep and you get a blinding flash of Toomorrow) by Cecil Wilson

The Evening News 27 August 1970
It has a silly, but harmless story by Val Guest, a pretty singer, Olivia Newton-John and a good looking leading man, Benny Thomas. – from a review by Felix Barker

The Evening Standard 27 August 1970
I doubt if a nice, clean, homely pop group called the Toomorrow will be much helped by this connection, to which Val Guest supplied script and direction, about the kids being snatched from their London arts college where the curriculum includes Broadway chorus routines – to provide good vibes for inhabitants of the planet Alphoid. An unhappy looking Roy Dotrice plays the Outer Space type whose earthly residence is West Heath Road, Hampstead. – from a review by Alexander Walker

The Sun 27 August 1970
Toomorrow […] is a harmless, jolly little film populated by can't-tell-one-from-the-other Doris Davs and put together without too much thought to introduce an invented pop group called Toomorrow. Very pretty. – from a review by Fergus Cashin

Daily Express 28 August 1970
[Toomorrow] make a pleasant enough noise, but I fear it will be considered too jolly and over-polite by serious pop fans. – from a review (Group pops off for show in space) by Ian Christie

Daily Telegraph 28 August 1970
Music […] isn't all we get. There is also dialogue and a plot concerning sit-ins at a London college of art, and furthermore it must all be acted. The men above were wise to send only for the music. – from a review by Eric Shorter

Morning Star 28 August 1970
[O]ne might have a bit of luck with a plot combining outer space and contemporary music with student upheavals in an art college. One might, but whoever it is would have to be very good at it, and the people who put together Toomorrow […] won't make it over the pass. Val Guest (writer and director), Harry Saltzman and Don Kirskner (producers) and the entire cast, including a got-up-for-the-occasion group called Toomorrow, should all, in fact, be well ashamed of themselves for foisting such stuff on us poor filmgoers. – from a review by Nell Myers

New Statesman 28 August 1970
Toomorrow […] is a 95-minute commercial for a pop-group that I don't imagine anyone would take as a free offer. It is a monument to the synthetic and i hope everybody associated with this cynical attempt to exploit the teenage market gets his due reward – empty houses. – from a review by Nicholas Garnham

The Times 28 August 1970
Toomorrow […], for all its drivelling nonsense, might just as well have been called Yesterday. – from a review by Trevor Grove

Sunday Mirror 30 August 1970
Toomorrow is too much. Presumably it is meant to appeal to the young – hippy children more interested in the top ten than dolls or toy cars – could possibly accept it without amazed disbelief. […] [Toomorrow] are so clean and nice and unreal I wanted to scream. Musically, they lack originality. But one day they are whisked, lock, stock and kit, into Space because the Space people think the group's vibrations are groovy and want to be taught the secret. Can you imagine anything more silly? – from a review (Pop goes a fantasy) by Madeline Harmsworth

Sunday Telegraph 30 August 1970
Watching Toomorrow […] I kept expecting Bing Crosby to pop up in a beany hat as he did in those old-fashioned Hollywood campus musical comedies which, for all its trendy pretensions, the new film quite amiably resembles. The idea of a pop science fantasy is fun and if writer-director Val Guest's touch is hardly as light as it might be, the outer space trickery is very jolly and the exuberance of the “Toomorrow” group, tailor-made for their screen launching much as the “Monkees” were invented, is infectious. A special word for Olivia Newton-John and Benny Thomas; though no word can express my feelings at finding Roy Dotrice making heavy weather of a galactic observer of the earth's pop-student spectacle. – from a review by Margaret Hinxman

The Sunday Times 30 August 1970
Really one is almost grateful for Toomorrow […], an absurd fantasy about a pop group whose sound penetrates the world of space and attracts the envy of a race called the Alphoids. Juvenile but at least not nauseating. – from a review by Dilys Powell

Monthly Film Bulletin vol.37 no.440 (September 1970) p.190
Harry Saltzman's extravagance (wide-open sets and sub-2001 effects) and Don Kirshner's fixed conception of young people's tastes in entertainment (in among the songs and adventure is a feebly interpolated student sit-in) combine to produce a glossy and empty-headed pop fantasy, as computerised as the Alphoids' soulless music. To avoid any comparisons with his previous creation, The Monkees, Kirshner's new supergroup of four includes a winsome starlet and a token negro. They appear as incompatible as one would expect, and are required to do little else than try to put conviction into lines like “Hey! Any of you cats mind a groove? You got it”, which crop up throughout. If this antiseptic crew had really dared to set foot on the stage of the Round House during a pop festival, dressed up like canaries and singing their cute songs of love and tears, they would have been booed, quite deservedly, off it again. – from an uncredited review

Variety 16 September 1970 p.15
[A] naive but quite jolly little tuner geared to please both old and young, largely shot on location and with a cast that in most instances has not been over exposed. It has a sci-fi angle and brings In a pop festival, a university lockout, some cheeky but not permissive sex and several pretty young chicks. Altogether it seems to have the necessary swingy ingredients for a lighthearted winner in most situations. […] As a yarn it's pretty contrived, but as an excuse for some reasonably tuneful music and for a frolic it gets by. Dotrice as the spaceman is a suave emcee to the proceedings but it's not the thesp at his best. The Toomorrow group is fresh and cleancut, with girl warbler Olivia Newton-John being particularly promising as a screen potential. Tracey Crisp, Imogen Hassall and a flock of other shapely birds are around to adorn the screen and tangle up romantic sidelines. Hugo Montenegro's music Is okay, and a number of songs by top tunesmiths of the Bacharach league add to the earworthy proceedings. – from a review by Rich

References

Periodicals

  • Board of Trade Journal vol.199 no.3833 (2 September 1970) p.497 – note (Registrations of British and foreign films)
  • Infinity no.37 (2021) pp.18-23 – illustrated interview with Val Guest (Guest appearance by Richard Hollis)
  • Kine Weekly no.3281 (29 August 1970) p.7 – credits, review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.37 no.440 (September 1970) p.190 – credits, synopsis, review [author not credited]
  • New Statesman 28 August 1970 – review (by Nicholas Garnham)
  • Today's Cinema no.9833 (21 August 1970) p.4 – review
  • Variety 16 September 1970 p.15 – credits, review (by Rich)

Newspapers

  • Daily Express 28 August 1970 – review (Group pops off for show in space by Ian Christie)
  • Daily Mail 6 July 1970 – note (by Michael Cable)
  • Daily Mail 27 August 1970 – review (Bleep and you get a blinding flash of Toomorrow by Cecil Wilson)
  • Daily Mirror 1 August 1970 – note
  • Daily Mirror 26 August 1970 – illustrated review (Groovy – even for squares… by Dick Richards)
  • Daily Telegraph 28 August 1970 – review (by Eric Shorter)
  • The Evening News 27 August 1970 – review (by Felix Barker)
  • The Evening Standard 27 August 1970 – review (by Alexander Walker)
  • The Morning Star 28 August 1970 – review (by Nell Myers)
  • The Sun 27 August 1970 – review (by Fergus Cashin)
  • Sunday Mirror 30 August 1970 – review (Pop goes a fantasy by Madeline Harmsworth)
  • Sunday Telegraph 30 August 1970 – review (by Margaret Hinxman)
  • The Sunday Times 30 August 1970 – review (by Dilys Powell)
  • The Times 28 August 1970 – review (by Trevor Grove)

Books

  • Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction by Phil Hardy (ed) p.296
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis p.402
  • by Walt Lee p.497 – credits
  • Video Dungeon: The Collected Reviews by Kim Newman p.468-469