This movie has been a tease for Olivia fans for over forty years. Producer Don Kirshner embargoed it after intial release because he really didn't want to let this dog out and blot his record. It's from the very dawn of Olivia's career, and has always been a bear to get hold of until 2011.
In 1970 Olivia made her second movie entitled Toomorrow. Don Kirshner, who had created the Monkees in 1965, wanted to repeat this success and manufacture another pop group. He teamed up with Harry Saltzman maker of the popular James Bond movies. The group Toomorrow was to be launched via the cinema and via an album and single.
The group consisted of Australian 21 year old Olivia; English keyboard player Vic Cooper 25, American drummer Karl Chambers 22 and Ben Thomas American 24 year old singer. Originally Chris Slade (who went onto ACDC fame) was to be a member - see photo but before the movie was made he left and was replaced by Karl Chambers (Karl sadly died Feb 2002 from cancer).
According to Olivia the film and record took two years to make and the band were sent back and forth to America sometimes only to be told they were not needed and sent on holiday for a week! This was not all bad news as the group members were all on high wages, Olivia was reported to have been given a £10,000 retainer a year, not a mean sum in 1970! In fact no expense was spared, the film cost around 1 million to make.
The film opened amidst much publicity Bruce Welch, who was Olivia's boyfriend at the time, had this to say about the film and music: "The film was a disgrace. It was reminiscent of so many of the low-budget pop pictures that were made during the early sixties, and the biggest let down of all was the music. It was all so lightweight. There were no hit songs - the numbers were naive and instantly forgettable....Instead of going for the best songwriters available, Kirshner had simply handed the job to some unknown writers he had signed to his publishing company and, of course, it couldn't possible work." (Rock N' Roll - I Gave You The Best Years of My Life by Bruce Welch 1989)
Apparently afterwards Bruce arranged a private screening for some of his songwriting colleagues and composers to see if they could rescue the film but they realized that it would have meant re-shooting many of the major scenes and costing just too much money. So Toomorrow opened and closed again in about a week. Toomorrow released the album and two singles both without much success and then disbanded.
Nowadays Don Kirshner, distances himself from the project, claiming on Headliners and Legends (2000) that he left the project before it was finished as he could see it was going in the wrong direction. Rumor has it that he won't allow the movie to be shown again during his lifetime. (It has since been released on DVD in 2014) However, it was shown in 2000 at a special LA Film Festival and the one remaining movie copy is in private hands.
Olivia, as the only female member of the group, wearing tight shorts and mini skirts certainly looks cute. It has been suggested that perhaps if the movie had turned out a success Olivia would have never been saddled with the label "girl next door". However, in an interview in 1983 Olivia said that she had been asked to do one scene in her underwear but she had refused and burst into tears at the very thought! Olivia wasn't happy with her acting in this movie and has mentioned that she was instructed "to project" so spent the movie shouting. And her English accent doesn't always work. However, Olivia has now made peace with the movie laughingly calling it "a cult sci-fi movie."
Toomorrow released a vinyl album entitled Toomorrow (RCA LSA 3008) and two singles: I Could Never Live Without your Love/Roll Like The River (not available on the album) and You're My Baby Now/Going Back. All of which are now rare and expensive!
So here's the basic plot of the film:
"John Williams is an Alphoid disguised as a human being who has been on Earth for thousands of years. To normal humans his present occupation as an anthropologist has attracted no undue attention. But John Williams is unhappy with his work as an observer on Earth. He feels he is wasted on a planet that prays for peace and makes war to obtain it. A visit to an Alphoid space craft, hovering above the clouds, provides him with an interesting new assignment. A remarkable and powerful vibration has been discovered on Earth and become known to the Alphoid Galactic Control. Its power is curative, not destructive, and as a growing malady in Space is sterility of sound, Williams is given the job of tracking down the cure.
It is not easy, but Williams eventually tracks it to a tonaliser, a weirdly-constructed amplifier, that a young music student, Vic has built to his own specification. Vic is one of the group of four studying at the London College of Arts. They live in Chelsea where Olivia acts as "den mother" and chaperone to the other three, Karl, Ben and Vic. To finance their studies they form themselves into an amateur pop group called Toomorrow, but when it seems that they are making headway in their musical careers with a guest appearance at a Pop Festival at the Round House, personal problems beset the quartet. Turbulent days also exist at the College when the students demand participation in the administration. The students vote for a sit-in, but this develops into a dance-in owing to Toomorrow's musical activities. Williams offers the group facilities to rehearse in the conservatory of his Hampstead home. After one groovy session, the group are just leaving when a beam whisks them up to the Alphoid space-craft. Complete with their musical instruments and Vic's tonaliser Toomorrow learn that their task is to educate the space people, as Astral music has lost its potency. Emotion and soul is lacking in the Alphoids' computerised music. For Toomorrow the environment is wrong something which the Alphoids soon realize and they allow the group to escape back to earth.
Matthew, a young admirer of Olivia and leader of the Student Action Committee, is instrumental in settling the differences between the students and the Administration at the London College of Arts. But the agreed compromise antagonizes the staff. They decide to use the same tools as the students, they organize a lock-out. This proves a great embarrassment to Toomorrow. With only hours before they are to make their important debut at the Round House, they discover their instruments are locked inside the college. Using his masculine charm on Dr Suzanne Gilmore, the attractive doctor of music and one of his many girl-friends, Ben instigates the retrieval of the instruments.
Time is short. A hectic car chase ensues across London to the Round House. By this time each of the group has attracted a road manager. Vic has the serious ballet student and pop convert, Amy as his road manager. Olivia has brought along Matthew, Karl has become attracted to Sylvana. And Ben? He has several girls in tow, including Suzanne and Francoise. Even Williams has got in on the act. Johnson, a beautiful girl he has conjured from Space and brought to Earth on a mission of seduction, partners him to the Round House. It is a splendid and fitting debut. The group soon have the place grooving and swinging. The environment is ideal. It is an unique situation that the Alphoids cannot resist. The Alphoids beam Toomorrow back up to space but has this all been a dream for the members of Toomorrow? No one is sure.
It's now easy to get hold of this. Don Kirshner passed away in 2011 and it appears that the mortmain has been lifted, since the record and the movie were released on CD and DVD that year. Throughout the high-water mark of Olivia's career, fans had to watch this clandestinely on various bootlegs and scour record fairs or the few remaining copies of the LP. I paid over £100 for mine - the CD was below £10 at Amazon and the DVD was about £5. Mind you, the signal quality of the DVD was only a fair bit better than some of the bootleg copies I've seen.