Jazz Boat
British quad poster
Directed byKen Hughes
Written byJohn Antrobus
Ken Hughes
Based onnovel by Rex Rienits
Produced byAlbert R. Broccoli
Harold Huth
StarringAnthony Newley
Anne Aubrey
Bernie Winters
James Booth
CinematographyTed Moore
Nicolas Roeg
Edited byGeoffrey Foot
Music byKenneth V. Jones
Distributed byColumbia Pictures (UK)
Columbia Pictures (US)
Release date
February 1960
Running time
96 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Jazz Boat is a 1960 British black-and-white musical comedy film directed by Ken Hughes and starring Anthony Newley, Anne Aubrey, Lionel Jeffries and big band leader Ted Heath and his orchestra.[1] It was based on the 1960 novel of the same name by Rex Rienits.

The cinematographer was Nicolas Roeg.

Many of the cast and the same director also made In the Nick (1960).


Electrician Bert Harris boasts that he's a successful cat burglar, which leads to him getting mixed up with real thieves who need those special skills for a big jewellery heist. However, Bert was only giving them a "song and dance" about being a cat burglar, but now discovers it's too late to back out.



Rienits later admitted he disliked writing novels but was in a career slump so decided to write a novel to sell to the movies.[2]

Filming started 15 June 1959.[3] A scene involving more than 200 extras was shot at Chislehurst Caves, Kent; on that night the payroll was stolen meaning they could not be paid.[4]

Critical reception

Variety called it "an odd assortment of romance, jazz, musical comedy and youthful crime is poured into Jazz Boat. ...What comes out is largely chaos although some of it is infectiously amusing. Mostly it is vague, disjointed and purposeless. Director Ken Hughes may have been making some sort of an attempt at parody of American crime pix."[5]

The Monthly Film Bulletin wrote: "A juvenile crime story barely strong enough ior a B-feature, with guitars smashed over skulls in place of wisecracks as its type of humour, is given a few largely irrelevant songs and a bizarre mixture of characters to become a lively, muddle-headed British musical. ... Anthony Newley's offhand way of jesting gets few chances from the script and, compared with the spirited caricaturing of David Lodge and Al Mulock in the gang, leaves him a most ineffectual hero. The general farce and fantasy mix uneasily with the violent episodes, the more brutal of them centred round a detective, who is not only churlish and quick-fisted in the latest film style but handy with a broken bottle as well."[6]

TV Guide wrote, "While imitating American gangster films, this simple picture also provides a look at the British "Teddy Boy" subculture as some amusing situations, though none is particularly memorable."[7]

Leonard Maltin called it an "Energetic caper."[8]

Filmink said it "starts out as a crime drama then weirdly turns into a musical (complete with dance numbers) then back into a crime drama again."[9]


  1. ^ "Jazz Boat". British Film Institute Collections Search. Retrieved 6 January 2024.
  2. ^ Clark, Russell (14 September 1961). "The Bush Boy Who Wrote Outcasts". TV Times. pp. 8–9.
  3. ^ "Decca Gets Jazz Boat". Cash Box. 20 June 1959. p. 49.
  4. ^ "No roll for rock n rollers". The Age. 2 July 1959. p. 4.
  5. ^ "Jazz Boat". Variety. 220: 20. 20 November 1960.
  6. ^ "Jazz Boat". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 27 (312): 32. 1 January 1960 – via ProQuest.
  7. ^ "Jazz Boat". TV Guide. Archived from the original on 30 December 2016. Retrieved 6 January 2024.
  8. ^ "Jazz Boat (1960) - Overview - TCM.com".
  9. ^ Vagg, Stephen (14 November 2020). "Ken Hughes Forgotten Auteur". Filmink.