Synopsis: Steven Shorter is the ultimate British music star. His music is listened to by everyone from pre-teens to grandparents. He has no trace of public bad habits or drug involvement. Everyone in Britain loves him. His handlers begin to use his popularity for projects like increasing the consumption of apples after a bumper crop as an aid to farmers. The handlers decide that Steven should support God and Country next. This leads to, among other things, a rock version of "Onward Christian Soldiers," and the inclusion of a Nazi salute to make it clear (to the viewer) how far the British population will be taken for love of God and Country under Steven's guidance. Steven is very plastic in his direction, shifting as his handlers point him toward new projects until he meets Vanessa Ritchie, an artist who makes him look at what's happening.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Music
Director(s): Peter Watkins
Production: Universal Pictures
Rotten Tomatoes:
103 min

National Television. Steve Shorter.

Slate one, take one.

I would just like to say to you all...

how happy I am to be back in Britain

after my American tour.

The name of this young man

is Steven Shorten

He is being given the first ticker-tape

welcome in the history of Britain.

But Steven Shorter is not

a president or a politician.

He is a pop singer.

The reason given for

the extreme violence of the stage act

that you are about to see

is that it provides the public

with a necessary release

from all the nervous tension ca used

by the state of the world...


The performance for which

Steven Shorter is now being prepared

is based the sentence

he once served in prison.

And so successful has

this violent act become

that Steven Shorter now finds himself

the most desperately loved

entertainer in the world.

Britain in the near future.

I see it all before me

My path's a restless wander

My days and nights are torment

A world of misery

The bonds of retribution

Now laid so carefully

I cannot shed my pain so easily now

My spirit's broken

No will to live

My body's all aching

My hands are tied

I need my freedom

Not your sympathy

Look, you needn't love me

Just set me free

Come on, come on

Set me free

Set me free

Is there a way out for me?

I kneel before you helpless

Is there somebody out there?

To take a chance on me

I don't pretend to virtue

I don't ask anything

But if you want to help me

My freedom's everything

Now look! My spirit's broken

No will to live

My body's all aching

My hands are tied

I need...

I need my freedom

Not your sympathy

Look, you needn't love me

Just set me free

Come on, come on

Please set me free

Set me free

I see it all before me

My darkest days of sorrow

Salvation's been denied me

No hope of liberty

I only ask one question

Please tell me if you can

What good is retribution

Without a helping hand?

There is now a coalition

government in Britain

which has recently asked

all entertainment agencies

to usefully divert

the violence of youth.

Keep them happy, off the streets

and out of politics

Very good show tonight.

The basic thing is that, when we get

this European thing settled down...

By the way, Martin, I'd like you to...

I'd like to look over some of

the press releases I've got.

This should be the greatest

European tour he's done yet.

By the way, as I mentioned before,

the Far Eastern thing...

- The potential there is tremendous...

- Did somebody give him a drink?

Yes, I've offered...

Steve, do you want a drink?

OK, you can let them in now, please.

Come in, ladies and gentlemen.

There will shortly be 61 people

in this room

of whom 54 have nothing whatever

to do with Steven Shorter.

They are what you might call

"professional leaners"

All right, take it easy.

That's it. Have a drink.

Vanessa Ritchie.

Commissioned by the Ministry of Culture

to paint Steven Shorten

I first saw Steven Shorter

at a press reception

given for him about 3 months ago.

I couldn't get very close because of

the usual crowd of people around him.

There was just something about him.

It was the way he stood and looked

in the midst of all those people.

I found a strange sort of emptiness

and I just wanted to paint him.

- What was your name? Hedy, wasn't it?

- It's Betty.

It's Betty!

And this, our American friend,

is John B. Marshall.

I'd like to say howdy, folks.

Cool it,John. We'll hear

from you later. Isn't he wild?

Enjoy yourself. Have a ball!

All right! Hold it, everybody!

Present time, Uncle Julie.

Right now, it's present time.

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Norman Bogner

Norman Bogner (November 13, 1935 –) is a New York Times Bestselling- author whose range of work has included several novels such as Seventh Avenue, The Deadliest Art, To Die in Provence and The Madonna Complex, as well as stage plays, and movie and television scripts. His writing career spans nearly 50 years, with his first novel, In Spells No Longer Bound, published in 1961 and his most recent novel, 99 Sycamore Place, published in 2009. By 2001, his books, which explore drama and intrigue as they play out between family members and lovers, had sold over 25 million copies worldwide. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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