Alan Crabbe (played by Michael Crawford; yes, he of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em fame) is a 19 year old teenager whose own inherent clumsiness, not helped by his own ‘two left feet’, is preventing him from making anything of himself, including managing to date girls. Every time he tries to get a little amorous with a girl he fails miserably and his lack of experience is fast making him the butt of a lot of jokes at his place of work. One day, during his official work tea-break, he meets Eileen, the new waitress at the corner café, who seems to flirt with him, or does she?
Alan finally manages to summon up courage to ask Eileen out on a date and she insists they go clubbing in a trendy area of the city. They end up in an expensive cellar bar where Eileen ends up dancing with another guy, Ronnie, making Alan jealous. However, whilst at the club Alan does meet another girl, Beth, whose dad has committed suicide, after being accused of being both gay and a commie, seemingly bringing shame on her household.
As events move the story on, it soon becomes apparent that Eileen is only really leading Alan on so that she has a chaperone to accompany her to the club to meet up with Ronnie, who she enjoys dancing with more than she does with poor old clumsy Alan. But things are about to get better for Alan, even though he does end up taking a nasty beating from a knife-wielding Ronnie and some of his dodgy mates.
Based on the novel ‘In my Solitude’ by David Stuart Leslie, Two Left Feet wasn’t the comedy I was expecting and was more of a slightly amusing ‘kitchen sink’ drama. While you can clearly see the early origins of the Frank Spencer character here that Crawford would later go onto play with great success during the 70s, the film is more of a serious character study kind of arrangement, rather than a sit-com, and is probably better for it.
Crawford’s character here is a bit of a nob (technical term there), but through some later acts of kindness and understanding quickly gains the affection of the audience. In fact the film showcases some very decent acting all round, especially Crawford as he goes from being a bit of a teenage tosser to a more rounded man by the end of proceedings.
Network has done its usual bang-up job with the transfer and for a film of this age it looks pretty good. Sadly the sound was a little soft in places, but was still tolerable.
It was good to see a very young David Hemmings in an early role and you can see why he became quite a big name star later in the decade. He practically owns the screen each frame he’s in. Plus it was good to see regular Hammer bit-part actor Michael Ripper in a small role and Bond regular, Bernard Lee, as Alan’s dad.
One of the joys of watching older films from a different era is listening to some of the dialogue. For example at one point Alan says to another teen, in order to settle a dispute: ‘I’ll buy you a sausage roll’. If only all arguments could be settled as easily! And when flirting with Eileen, who asks: ‘How big are you?’ when referring to his height, Alan defensively retorts: ‘I’m six and a bit – big enough for anyone!’
Roy Baker proves his competency as director throughout and uses plenty of locations and interesting looking sets and does well wrangling the teenager crowd scenes.
All in all Two Left Feet is a decent little film, which rewards the viewer’s patience with some fairly engaging drama and some nicely drawn but rather quirky characters you’ll grow to like.
Network Distributing has released Two Left Feet on DVD, as part of their British Film Collection. Also included on the disc is a gallery of stills from the film and a couple of promotional posters for the film.