The Tommy Steele Story

The Tommy Steele Story is a 1957 British film directed by Gerard Bryant and starring Tommy Steele, dramatising Steele's own rise to fame.[2]

The Tommy Steele Story
"The Tommy Steele Story" (1957).jpg
UK poster by Tom Chantrell
Directed byGerard Bryant
Written byNorman Hudis
Produced byHerbert Smith
Stuart Levy
Nat Cohen
Peter Rogers
StarringTommy Steele
CinematographyPeter Hennessy
Edited byAnn Chegwidden
Distributed byAnglo-Amalgamated (UK)
Release date
  • 1957 (1957)
Running time
70 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

It was released in the US as Rock Around the World, since it was felt no one in America knew who Tommy Steele was.[3][4]

Along with Rock You Sinners, it was one of the first British films to feature rock and roll.[5]


Tommy Steele lives with his mother and father in their London home. He works with a bellboy until he injures his spine doing judo. In hospital he is given a guitar to help with his therapy and he starts to play to entertain patients and staff. He works on an ocean liner, performing in his spare time, and gets a job playing in a coffee bar. He is popular with audiences and gets a recording contract.



Steele was approached to make the film by Nat Cohen and Stuart Levy. He later wrote in his memoirs, "They were quite different from that other British film mogul, J. Arthur Rank. Where Rank was C. Aubrey Smith, Cohen and Levy were Abbott and Costello. They didn't so much as hold a meeting as do an act."[6] He added "there was a degree of madness about them – but you had to be mad to take the chances they took – with a little eccentricity for good measure."[7]

Steele agreed to do the film. He met with Mike Pratt and Lionel Bart and they spent a month writing the songs. Two weeks later the film was shot.[8]

He was paid £3,000 for the lead role.[9]

Steele says director Gerald Bryant "was more like a poet than a showman."[10]


The Tommy Steele Story was the 13th most popular film at the British box office in 1957.[11] Steele was voted the seventh most popular star in Britain for that year.[12]

The Tommy Steele Story was one of the few British films screened in Russia.[13]


Steele helped to write every song on the soundtrack except one.[14]

The soundtrack was released in May 1957. The following songs appear:

  • A1 Take Me Back, Baby
  • A2 Butterfingers
  • A3 I Like
  • A4 A Handful Of Songs
  • A5 You Gotta Go
  • A6 Water, Water
  • A7 Cannibal Pot
  • B1 Will It Be You
  • B2 Two Eyes
  • B3 Build Up
  • B4 Time To Kill
  • B5 Elevator Rock
  • B6 Doomsday Rock
  • B7 Teenage Party


  1. ^ Andrew Caine Interpreting Rock Movies: The Pop Film and Its Critics in Britain, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004p.117
  2. ^ ""THE TOMMY STEELE STORY"". The Australian Women's Weekly. 27 November 1957. p. 42. Retrieved 6 May 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ Gary A. Smith, American International Pictures: The Golden Years, Bear Manor Media 2014 p 59
  4. ^ "The Story of Tommy Steele". The Christian Science Monitor. 10 October 1957. p. 7.
  5. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Tommy Steele Story, The (1957)".
  6. ^ Steele p 270
  7. ^ Steele p 271
  8. ^ Steele p 271
  9. ^ David Shipman The Great Movie Stars: The International Years, London: Angus & Robertson, 1972 p.494
  10. ^ Steele p 271
  11. ^ LINDSAY ANDERSON, and DAVID DENT (8 January 1958). "Time For New Ideas". The Times. London. p. 9 – via The Times Digital Archive.
  12. ^ "Most Popular Film of the Year". The Times (54022). London. 12 December 1957. p. 3.
  13. ^ Gale, John (9 August 1959). "The Tommy Steele (in Moscow) Story". The Observer. London. p. 1.
  14. ^ "DISC DIGEST". The Australian Women's Weekly. 19 February 1958. p. 34. Retrieved 6 May 2012 – via National Library of Australia.


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