Comedy Oddities: Toomorrow

toomorrow index

First off, I should probably point out that the above isn’t a typo, the name of the film really is Toomorrow, and it’s also the name of the fictional band in the movie. They have such a name because “We’re too much, we’re too morrow”, which doesn’t make much sense given how pleasant and mainstream they are to listen too, which would have been the case even back then in 1970, but hey, it’s a minor issue with this incredibly flimsy but very likeable film.

It was billed as a musical but it only is in the sense that we hear the band play their songs a few times and so it’s not a typical musical where characters burst in to song out of the blue, which disappointed as I have a real fondness for them. Fortunately the band’s tunes are pretty great, unsurprisingly perhaps as they were written by Don Kirshner who was also responsible for some of The Monkees biggest hits.

Indeed it was that tv series / band that led to the creation of Toomorrow as James Bond film producer Harry Saltzman wanted to cash in on the success of The Monkees with his own manufactured band, though due to various complicated legal reasons Toomorrow was shown for just one week in London and then due to an injunction shelved for four decades, with a dvd of the movie only released back in 2012. Even if that hadn’t happened I can’t imagine that the film would have been a success, but it might have garnered a cult following, albeit a pretty small one.

It’s an odd mixture of sci-fi fantasy and PG rated sex comedy, where Olivia Newton-John lives with her bandmates Vic (Vic Cooper), Karl (Karl Chambers) and Benny (Benny Thomas), though they’re all still at university and no one’s really aware of their existence until one day Mr John Williams (Roy Dotrice) wakes up, heads in to his garden, and is transported to a space ship where it turns out he’s an alien. He’s informed that Toomorrow is the one band who are creating music which contains “Curative Vibrations” which can save the lives of all of the aliens, which is what John’s been searching for for hundreds of years on Earth.

Once he’s back on the planet he ingratiates himself with the band pretending to be a massive fan of rock music, and rather fortunately he can just look at a picture of something and it becomes real, so within a few seconds he’s built a recording studio in his house for the band to use which contains every musical instrument you can imagine. But after the aliens abduct the band they discover that the humans are an annoying bunch who don’t want to help, even though they’re promised a return to Earth the moment they left once they have done so, and a chase sequence ensues where the band conveniently find a smaller space ship, nick it, and head back to Earth.

You might have thought that after being abducted and discovering that alien life exists that the band would freak out, and it’d be all they could talk about, but nope, they’re horny buggers so after about two minutes of confusion they’re back planning a gig, and their complicated sex lives become the subject of the film right up until the end. So there’s lots of running about dodging lovers and trying to calm down the women who are fed up with being cheated upon, until the sci-fi aspect is inserted back in to the film in the final fifteen minutes.

It’s an absurd old thing and then some, the sex comedy parts have the odd amusing moment (especially when one of the aliens is turned in to a woman and tries to seduce one of the band, despite not being able to tell humans apart), but there’s a fair bit of filler in this aspect of the film, including a subplot involving the University students going on strike that’s as boring as that sounds. Elsewhere the script is often witty fortunately and Williams’ disdain for humanity is the source of a good few laughs, with his initial description of life on Earth being “There is still nothing to report, not one original element, not one interesting deviant, merely an aborted attempt at evolution – Venus all over again” which made me laugh even if it is a bit harsh.

There’s also a cute sequence where the group play a song called “Happiness Valley” while fantasising what that would be for them , and the gang’s outrage at being abducted is pretty amusing with Olivia moaning “But I could be two thousand years old by then” even though that doesn’t make any sense, and drummer Karl uttering “I just don’t dig doing my thing in outer space”. The female space alien (named Johnson) is a great character too, as after a trip to the cinema to explain sex to her she finds the concept hilarious, and her flirtations with all of the various men she can’t tell apart from one another is one of the highlights of the films.

Frustratingly it’s a real shame then that they fudge the ending and it doesn’t make much sense, we can assume the aliens got what they wanted, returned everyone to Earth, and that’s that, but at no point do they comment on their second trip in to space which is a bit odd. A slightly tighter structure and less filler during the university section could have made it a much more enjoyable film too, but despite these issues it’s still a film I’m immensely fond of, the kind of silly and strange movie which isn’t really made any more and the world is a slightly lesser place for that.

Alex Finch.
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Related Link:
The movie is currently available to watch in full on youtube here.

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