Herman’s Hermits was a huge part of the 1960’s British Invasion that started with the Beatles. They were a five-piece band that had the typical shag haircuts and produced candy pop music that was particularly lapped up by millions of swooning teen girls here in America. The band’s hits included There’s A Kind Of Hush, I’m Henry, The Eighth I Am, and Mrs. Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter. Unfortunately, none of these standards from the band’s days of hits can be found in this rather silly movie.
The story finds the band enjoying a successful American tour. Their manager, Dudley (Fox) isn’t taking any chances. He’s willing to hire professional fainters to keep the boys’ image at its hyper pace. He’s also doing his best to keep the boys from any actual contact with any members of the female horde. That’s bad news for Cecile Bannister (Langdon) who wants desperately to gain attention for a studio acting contract. She conspires to get a picture with the band at every opportunity, usually with comic disaster the result.
Meanwhile, NASA has a problem. When the latest group of astronauts couldn’t think of a name for their capsule, they let their kids decide. The result was to call the craft Herman’s Hermits. This doesn’t sit right with the brass, who don’t think a British band should be the name of an American spacecraft. When the pressure mounts to keep the name, they send Ed Lindquist (Anderson) to follow the band and get whatever information he can acquire. NASA wants to know if the boys are worthy of having the ship named after them. Lindquist’s efforts to find information lead to more comic mishaps, usually with a face full of water. When he finally does get to talk with Herman (Noone) he starts to like the lad. Meanwhile Herman is trying to sneak away from Dudley to be with Louise Page, played by another pop artist of the day, Shelley Fabares. The mishaps end up leading to the cops believing that Lindquist kidnapped Herman. It all works out in the end with the boys having to be both in California and Florida at the same time. Enter a new experimental jet to save the day.
While the real band didn’t actually have a member named Herman, Peter Noone, who was the band’s front man, portrayed the fictional Herman in the band’s films. The rest of the band retain their real names, but don’t expect to hear more than a quick line from any of the musicians. Still, it’s worth a mention that they all appear in the film. While the musical numbers are obviously lisped, at least these are the actual musicians. The band members are: Karl Green, Keith Hopwood, Derek Leckenby, and Barry Whitman.
You have to understand that the movie was never intended to be taken seriously. It was a farce from beginning to end, and that’s how you have to approach the whole thing. Two shining members of the support cast include Bernard Fox, who had quite a comedy career with recurring roles on shows like Hogan’s Heroes and MASH. 1950’s comedy viewers will instantly recognize Herbert Anderson has the father to Dennis The Menace. The film features plenty of staged performances of the band’s songs such as Hold On, The Things I Do For You Baby, Where Were You When I Needed You and The St. George And Dragon. Think A Hard Day’s Night, only sillier. It’s an obscure film that really will appeal to the band’s fans out there.
That’s where Warner enters the picture and has brought this show back from oblivion in their Warner Archive library. It’s another example of the studio’s commitment to finding ways to bring limited-interest titles to your homes. It’s great nostalgic fun, to be sure. Show your support by picking up titles like this that you might remember from your own youth. Even in a limited release, the studios need to see sales to continue these programs. And, this one is “an absolute spectacle”.
Check out the release from Warner Direct. Bang it here to get a closer look at Warner Archive Collection
There’s also a clip you can check out if you bang it here: Hold On Clip