Mojo - 11/01/2005 5 stars out of 5 -- "[I]t never once shies from the cut-throat harshness of the industry, and with its punchy script is both a precursor to British new wave cinema and a template for scamming svengalis."
Description by OLDIES.com:
A sly, sleazy and unscrupulous music agent, Johnny Jackson (Laurence Harvey) trolls the neon-streaked sidewalks of London's SoHo district in search of fresh meat to exploit. He finds it in a teen-packed coffee bar where a pompadoured rebel (pop star Cliff Richard) is dazzling his peers with his pouty, Presleyish voice and a talent for pounding the skins. Johnny renames the kid "Bongo" Herbert and, with the help of his stripper girlfriend (Sylvia Syms), guides the potential teen idol along the rocky path to fame.
Beneath its deceptively kitschy surface, Expresso Bongo is a potently clever film whose savvy critique of the corruptive values of show biz are reminiscent of that other hardboiled classic Sweet Smell of Success.
With a screenplay by Wolf Mankowitz and syncopated style to burn, director Val Guest's Expresso Bongo sizzles with authenticity, and is a witty, smart, entertaining exploration of one facet of the Brit Beat phenomenon.
A quick-talking agent catapults his singing and drumming beatnik client, "Bongo" Herbert, from the annals of swingin' London's underground coffeehouse scene to national stardom, only to lose him in the showbiz machinery. Plenty of musical mirth showcasing teen idol Richard.