Pat Boone’s 1957 one-two punch: Bernadine + April Love

June 25, 2015 | By

AprilLove_posterPreviously filmed in 1944 by Fox house director Henry Hathaway as Home in Indiana, George Agnew Chamberlain’s story – first a serialized tale, then a novel – morphed into April Love (1957), a vehicle for the studio’s latest star, Pat Boone, whom film historian Julie Kirgo describes in different vernacular as the anti-Elvis: less hip-swinging, a cleaner crooning style, and an image that wouldn’t have made neither parents, extended relatives, or the family pets worry.

Prior to being known as a gospel singer and for his staunchly conservative religious and political views, he was a top-charting performer during the 1950s, reportedly behind Fox’ other contract star, Elvis.

Balancing a recording, TV and film career, Boone appeared in 14 feature films between 1957 and 1970, but it was perhaps two films for which he’s best known: April Love, the film with the massive best-selling, Oscar-nominated single, and Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959), the latter a movie he was less crazy about, but one that became a top moneymaker for Boone, since his deal included a piece of the profits.

Bernardine1957_poster

April Love makes its’ Blu-ray debut via Twilight Time, and features a great commentary track and an isolated score . Both April Love and Journey were directed by Henry Levin, and I’ve included a review of Boone’s actual film debut, Bernadine, which Levin also directed in 1957.

Bernadine remains unavailable on video, but there’s a panned & scanned version floating around on YouTube. It’s a musical of sorts, and proves the practice of casting older actors as teens wasn’t exclusive to the 1970s. The film also demonstrates there are certain aspects of a teen comedy which never really age, and there’s a peculiar sense of déjà vu to the film, as certain archetypes proved central to the oeuvre of one John Hughes.

Coming next: Massacre Video’s special edition DVD of Spine (1986), a once rare shot-on-video slasher directed by ‘specialty’ filmmakers Justin Simonds and John Howard.

 

 

Mark R. Hasan, Editor
KQEK.com

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