Kenneth Hume

Active - 1947 - 1965  |   Born - Jan 1, 1925   |   Died - Jan 1, 1967   |   Genres - Comedy, Crime, Adventure, Musical

Share on

Kenneth Hume was a producer/director, principally from television, who enjoyed a short, strange film career during his 41 years. Born in 1926 in England, Hume entered the film industry as an editor in his early twenties, but later moved into television where he made a name for himself as a maker of arts-related programs. In 1961, the British entertainment world was amazed when Hume -- who was an all-but-avowed homosexual (still a sensitive subject in England, as punitive laws were still on the books) -- married Welsh-born pop singer Shirley Bassey. In 1964, Hume directed and produced a short modern dance film entitled Mods and Rockers, which utilized the songs of John Lennon,Paul McCartney, and George Harrison as performed by a band called the Cheynes (featuring Mick Fleetwood on drums); the short film was later folded into a full-length program alongside a pair of jukebox shorts, Swinging UK and UK Swings Again, retitled Go Go Big Beat for U.S. release. What might have been a clever use of Beatles music turned into a financial and legal disaster -- Mods and Rockers had a fairly explicit homoerotic content that made it an impossible sell in England or America, and it also had a racial content that made it even more difficult to present in the United States. Worse still, the Beatles sued over the movie's marketing and publicity, which featured their name distinctly larger than that of the Cheynes and such matters as synchronization rights to the songs. The movie was later withdrawn and Mods and Rockers was removed from the larger composite feature, and modern showings of Swinging UK or Go Go Big Beat contain only the two jukebox shorts. Hume made one more movie, I've Gotta Horse (1965). Hume's personal and professional life alike took a dive when Bassey decided to divorce him -- they apparently were married and divorced twice within a three-year period, and Hume was found dead, an apparent suicide by drug overdose, after their second parting.