Morpheus on… Morecombe & Wise’s “That Riviera Touch”

Eric and Ernie made four films in all. “The Intelligence Men” in ’65, “That Riviera Touch” in ’66, “The Magnificent Two” in ’67 – and “Night Train To Murder” in ’83.

The first was the best, the second the most popular, the third the worst – and the late addition was really only a TV movie (Thames had promised them they could make movies, during their assault on Auntie which backfired horribly; she got a legal injunction to win back her half of the football league matches – and Eric DIED).

But this is about “That Riviera Touch” – which is (at the MOMENT) available FREE on YouTube…

Aside from a missing shot near the start, where the Duke Of Edinburgh gives Eric’s traffic warden a two-finger salute, it appears to be complete.

The film has two interesting features; first – it’s the ONLY example of Ern singing without Eric messing it up. While there is visual comedy during the “Now That You’re Here” sequence – the title track only has graphics to distract from his rendition of it.

This is RARE; doubtless recalling how Martin & Lewis broke up in acrimony – in part because Dino sang and Jerry couldn’t – by mutual agreement, they decided to HIDE the fact that Ernie had one of the hundred best voices in Britain, since he was also half of the SINGLE best double act. A wise choice (did you see what I did there?)

The 45 single of both tracks was DECIMATED by clowning from Eric. But Ern got his revenge later, when Auntie persuaded them to extend their song-and-dance routines to full-on production numbers – which Ernie loved and Eric secretly HATED – he was all about the COMEDY.

The second interesting feature is Paul Stassino as the villain.

Six months earlier, he had played a henchman in “Thunderball” and thus gave his part credibility. A YEAR earlier, the same thing had happened when Gert Fröbe had followed his Auric Goldfinger rôle with a “Crazy Otto” rôle in “Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines” – except that before his startling turn as probably the greatest Bond villain of all time, Gert had been known in Europe AS a comedy actor, unlike Paul, who had almost ALWAYS played villains.

Paul only passed a couple of years ago, at 82 – which coincidentally, is the same age Suzanne Lloyd (the “That Riviera Touch” love interest) is NOW. Gert was German, Paul was Cypriot and Suzanne is Canadian. Title, song and score by Ron Goodwin.

That’s it – enjoy!


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