The Heart of a Man

Last updated

The Heart of a Man
"The Heart of a Man" (1959).jpg
Original British poster by Nicola Simbari
Directed by Herbert Wilcox
Written by
Story byRex North
Produced by Anna Neagle
Cinematography Reginald H. Wyer
Edited byBasil Warren
Music byAngela Morley (as Wally Stott)
Herbert Wilcox Productions (as Wilcox-Neagle)
Distributed by J. Arthur Rank Film Distributors (UK)
Release date
  • 1959 (1959)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Heart of a Man is a 1959 British drama film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Frankie Vaughan, Anne Heywood and Tony Britton. [1] A millionaire in disguise gives a young man money to help him pursue his singing career.


Featured songs by Vaughan include "The Heart Of A Man", "Sometime, Somewhere" and "Walking Tall". [2]


Sailor Frankie Martin is offered a thousand pounds by an eccentric tramp if he can earn a hundred pounds in a week by honest means. Frankie tries his hand as a boxer, a bouncer and a commissionaire, and finally finds success as a singer. He also falls for the charms of night club chanteuse Julie, and this leads to further success when he wins a recording contract.


Critical reception

The Monthly Film Bulletin wrote: "It has long been almost axiomatic that the British cannot make musicals. One might therefore expect that a producer as experienced in the entertainment business as Anna Neagle would know how to avoid the more obvious pitfalls. But apparently not, for she remains content to cling to the outworn conventions; moreover she has chosen a script whose witlessness and banality make it almost a parody of the worst British comedies of the Thirties. It abandons all pretensions to plot after the first half-hour and becomes simply a series of unrelated incidents. Frankie Vaughan looks self-conscious throughout, and Anne Heywood struggles vainly against the most hideous costumes and hair-styles that she has ever had to wear. Tony Britton brings off the considerable feat of making his material sound witty; in fact his whole performance has a style and polish that can only expose the inadequcy of his fellow artists. There are several good "pop" songs, but they are presented so tamely that it is hard to believe that the director is the veteran Herbert Wilcox. He has, in the past, shown a keen awareness of popular taste, but this time he may find that he has overestimated the tolerance of his audience." [3]

In the Radio Times , David Parkinson gave the film two out of five stars, and wrote, "Veteran director Herbert Wilcox bowed out of films with this undistinguished and wholly unconvincing slice-of-life drama, which was produced by his actress wife Anna Neagle ... Anthony Newley cashes in on a showy supporting role and Vaughan scored a chart hit with the title song." [4]

In British Sound Films: The Studio Years 1928–1959 David Quinlan rated the film as "mediocre", writing: "Dated vehicle for Vaughn; the title song was a big hit." [5]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anna Neagle</span> English stage and film actress and singer

Dame Florence Marjorie Wilcox, known professionally as Anna Neagle, was an English stage and film actress, singer, and dancer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anthony Newley</span> English actor, singer, songwriter, and filmmaker (1931–1999)

Anthony Newley was an English actor, singer, songwriter, and filmmaker. A "latter-day British Al Jolson", he achieved widespread success in song, and on stage and screen. "One of Broadway's greatest leading men", from 1959 to 1962 he scored a dozen entries on the UK Top 40 chart, including two number one hits. Newley won the 1963 Grammy Award for Song of the Year for "What Kind of Fool Am I?", sung by Sammy Davis Jr., and wrote "Feeling Good", which became a signature hit for Nina Simone. His songs have been sung by a wide variety of singers including Fiona Apple, Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, Michael Bublé and Mariah Carey.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Frankie Vaughan</span> English singer and actor (1928–1999)

Frankie Vaughan was an English singer and actor who recorded more than 80 easy listening and traditional pop singles in his lifetime. He was known as "Mr. Moonlight" after his signature song "Give Me the Moonlight, Give Me the Girl". Two of Vaughan's singles topped the UK Singles Chart – "The Garden of Eden" (1957) and "Tower of Strength" (1961). He starred in several films, including a role opposite Marilyn Monroe in Let's Make Love (1960).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Herbert Wilcox</span> Film producer and director from Britain

Herbert Sydney Wilcox CBE was a British film producer and director.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anne Heywood</span> British actress (1931–2023)

Anne Heywood was a British film actress, who is best known for her Golden Globe-nominated performance in the 1967 film version of D.H. Lawrence's The Fox.

<i>Idol on Parade</i> 1959 British film by John Gilling

Idol on Parade is a 1959 British comedy film directed by John Gilling and starring William Bendix, Anthony Newley, Sid James and Lionel Jeffries. The screenplay was by John Antrobus, based on the 1958 William Camp novel Idle on Parade which was inspired by Elvis Presley's conscription into the US Army. It was produced by Irving Allen and Albert R. Broccoli for Warwick Films. Jeep Jackson serves his two years of compulsory National Service in the British military.

<i>These Dangerous Years</i> 1957 British film

These Dangerous Years is a 1957 British drama musical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring George Baker, Frankie Vaughan, Carole Lesley, Thora Hird, Kenneth Cope, David Lodge and John Le Mesurier.

<i>The Lady Is a Square</i> 1958 British film by Herbert Wilcox

The Lady Is a Square is a black and white 1958 British comedy musical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and featuring Anna Neagle, Frankie Vaughan and Janette Scott.

Goodnight, Vienna is a 1932 British musical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Jack Buchanan, Anna Neagle and Gina Malo. Two lovers in Vienna are separated by the First World War, but are later reunited.

<i>Piccadilly Incident</i> 1946 British film

Piccadilly Incident is a 1946 British drama film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding, Coral Browne, Edward Rigby and Leslie Dwyer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nicholas Phipps</span> British actor (1913–1980)

William Nicholas Foskett Phipps was a British actor and writer who appeared in stage roles between 1932 and 1967 and more than thirty films between 1940 and 1970. He wrote West End plays, songs and sketches for revues, and film scripts.

<i>Find the Lady</i> (1956 film) 1956 British film by Charles Saunders

Find the Lady is a 1956 British comedy thriller 'B' film directed by Charles Saunders and starring Donald Houston, Beverley Brooks and Mervyn Johns.

<i>Kings Rhapsody</i> (film) 1955 film by Herbert Wilcox

King's Rhapsody is a 1955 British musical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Errol Flynn and Patrice Wymore. Wymore was Errol Flynn's wife at the time of filming. It was based on the successful stage musical King's Rhapsody by Ivor Novello.

<i>No Time for Tears</i> (film) 1957 British film by Directed by Cyril Frankel

No Time for Tears is a 1957 British drama film directed by Cyril Frankel in CinemaScope and Eastman Color and starring Anna Neagle, George Baker, Sylvia Syms and Anthony Quayle. The staff at a children's hospital struggle with their workload.

<i>Wonderful Things!</i> 1958 British film by Herbert Wilcox

Wonderful Things! is a 1958 British comedy romance film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Frankie Vaughan, Jocelyn Lane and Wilfrid Hyde-White. It was written by Jack Trevor Story. Two fishermen brothers clash over the love of a woman.

<i>My Teenage Daughter</i> 1956 British film Herbert Wilcox

My Teenage Daughter is a 1956 British drama film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Sylvia Syms and Norman Wooland. The screenplay concerns a mother who tries to deal with her teenage daughter's descent into delinquency. It was intended as a British response to Rebel Without a Cause (1955). It was the last commercially successful film made by Wilcox.

<i>Its in the Bag</i> (1944 film) 1944 film by Herbert Mason

It's in the Bag is a 1944 British comedy film directed by Herbert Mason and starring Elsie Waters, Doris Waters and Ernest Butcher. It was produced and distributed by Butcher's Film Service. Gert and Daisy try to recover a valuable lost dress.

<i>Lilacs in the Spring</i> 1954 film

Lilacs in the Spring is a 1954 British musical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Errol Flynn and David Farrar. The film was made at Elstree Studios with sets designed by the art director William C. Andrews. Shot in Trucolor it was distributed in Britain by Republic Pictures. It was the first of two films Neagle and Flynn made together, the other being King's Rhapsody. It was released in the United States as Let's Make Up.

<i>Vengeance Is Mine</i> (1949 film) 1949 film

Vengeance Is Mine is a 1949 British second feature crime drama film directed by Alan Cullimore and starring Valentine Dyall, Anne Firth and Richard Goolden.


  1. "The Heart of a Man (1959)". BFI. Archived from the original on 14 January 2009.
  2. "The Heart Of A Man".
  3. "The Heart of a Man". The Monthly Film Bulletin . 26 (300): 82. 1 January 1959 via ProQuest.
  4. David Parkinson. "The Heart of a Man". RadioTimes.
  5. Quinlan, David (1984). British Sound Films: The Studio Years 1928–1959. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd. p. 319. ISBN   0-7134-1874-5.