I hate it when people review films like the "High School Musical" series as if they're supposed to be "Citizen Kane," so I'm happy to see that the reviewers here took "Summer Holiday" for what it was - teen fun in the sun with lots of music, dancing, color, and a plot so thin you could barely discern it.
It stars that British phenomenon, Sir Cliff Richard, who has the distinction of having top ten hits in the U.K. for every decade through the '90s and today, in his seventies, is still touring and selling out venues. Yet he barely made a ripple here in the states, with the exception of "Devil Woman" and "We Don't Talk Anymore." The story concerns three lads who fix up a double decker tour bus and travel through Europe, picking up three young women whose car has been damaged, plus a runaway (Lauri Peters) and later a St. Bernard dog along the way. The runaway is actually a well-known American singer disguised as a boy, and her mother tries to make it look as if she's been kidnapped in order to get publicity.
Strangely Lauri Peters is American and was the original Broadway Liesl in the Sound of Music - she sounded about as American as Queen Elizabeth. She is a wonderful singer and didn't get to show off her voice enough in this film.
There's a nice exuberance in this film and some very upbeat musical numbers. Richard, a huge teen idol, was adorable and still looks great, in fact. For biggest selling musical artists in the UK, Richard ranks third behind the Beatles and Elvis.
Supposedly the British Elvis, if one thinks of Richard that way, he comes in a poor second. There was only one Elvis, and Richard needs to be taken on his own abilities. He lacks the oozing sexuality in presence and voice of Elvis, though he considered Elvis his absolute inspiration. He could dance better than Elvis, and his singing is sweet and polished, with none of Elvis' passion. And had Elvis not been under the thumb of Colonel Parker, we would have seen more evidence of Elvis' ability as an actor, which was definitely there. Richard's? Handsome, magnetic, a wonderful presence, but acting, not so much. Had Elvis lived drug-free and lasted longer, he would have enjoyed Richard's amazing longevity. Strangely, Elvis had a spiritual bend, as does Richard, and Elvis was known for being a gentleman, as is Richard.
However, all that being said, Richard's films Summer Holiday and Wonderful to be Young and Elvis' films have things in common, two things especially: they were geared to young audiences and they were megahits. Enjoy. Enough said.