Compared are the 1962 Re-Release Version and the Theatrical Version from 1959.
Both versions are available on the UK Blu-ray by BFI (released as # 031 of the Flipside series).
Former musician and full time crook/manager Johnny Jackson discover bongo and singing talent Bert Rudge at some bar. Thrilled by his performance, Johnny signs him instantaneously even though his parents do not agree. Johnny wants to make him a star as Bongo Herbert. By pulling a few stunts, he gets him his first TV gig and also talks music producer Mr. Mayer into making an album with him. His first album goes through the roof, the talent becomes a huge star. Johnny's girlfriend Maisie King suffers from his stardom because Johnny puts all his energy in the career of Bongo Herbert while she has to work at a strip club. Due to his success, Bongo Herbert meets the successful Dixie Collins who recognizes that the boy still has a rather naive point of view regarding the music business. She takes care of him and he and his manager Johnny go seperate ways.
"Expresso Bongo" is a rather amusing comedy about music business, located in shady Soho. Watching Laurence Harvey as Johnny Jackson coming up with all kind of tricks to make Bert Rudge a star is very entertaining. He is never stumped for an answer and is involved in lots of verbal duels - among others with his girlfriend Maisie. Cliff Richard as Bongo Herbert keeps a rather low profile but he gets to sing a few songs at least. The nudity in the movie is quite surprising though. For instance, there are a few strip club scenes in which the dancers only wear what is absolutely necessary. The movie was directed by Val Guest who also directed Hammer classics such as "The Quatermass Xperiment" or "The Abominable Snowman". He also directed the entertaining sexploitation comedy "Au Pair Girls" in 1972.
The Theatrical Version contains a fistful of musical numbers which were either completely removed or replaced with alternate footage in the Re-Release Version from 1962. BFI released this nice little piece of film as Blu-ray/DVD combo - the Blu-ray only contains the shorter version though. Qualitywise, the Blu-ray is very recommendable even though the alternate footage can't keep up with the rest. Besides English subtitles, which can come in handy to follow Johnny quickly-spoken words, there are a lot of bonus features. Among other things, one can watch Michael Winner's debut film "The Square".
Uncut: 111:16 min
Re-Release: 105:56 min
Mayer says he felt nauseated before the gig.
A musical number follows: Johnny attempts to persuade Mr. Mayer of Bongo Herbert but compared to big shots like Händel, he still believes Bongo Herbert sucks.
At the end of the song, Mr. Mayer agrees to make a contract anyway because he hopes for a financial profit. Johnny then encounters Penelope who just got glasses. He tells her to get a car because "Love on Wheels" was prety successful at the moment. She runs into a cop and complains about being allowed to check the small ads for cars.
The Re-Release Version contains alternate footage: Mr. Mayer agrees to make a contract because he hopes for a financial profit. Johnny then encounters Penelope who just got glasses. He tells her to get a car because "Love on Wheels" was prety successful at the moment. She runs into a cop and complains about being allowed to check the small ads for cars.
Uncut: 2:18 min
Re-Release: 57 sec
After Johnny leaves, Maisie sings about her difficult relationship. On the one hand,, she loves him. But then again, she could also kill him.
Uncut: 1:09 min
The Uncut Version cuts to Johnny's musical number. He gushes over how good his life was after Bongo Herbert's success.
The Re-Release shows some stardom scenes regarding Bongo Herbert and the success of his album.
Uncut: 55 sec
Re-Release: 26 sec
In the Uncut Version, Johnny and Mr. Mayer are singing about their closed contract.
In the Re-Release Version, Johnny leaves the office instead.
Uncut: 50 sec
Re-Release: 8 sec
The Uncut Version shows Dixie walking around the apartment, singing about how easy people can be deceived.
The Re-Release Version cuts to Bongo Herbert instantaneously.
Uncut: 1:35 min