Forget the blockbusters for a moment and head back to the Swinging Sixties

It’s the time of year when blockbusters, CGI, 3D and overpaid movie stars can be put to one side, the cracks in the floorboard of British film history opening up just enough to let two more forgotten gems escape from the dark as the BFI Flipside returns. 

Bronco Bullfrog (1969) and Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (1968) will be in the shops on Monday in dual format DVD/Blu-ray editions, two films which depict coming-of-age in 1960s Britain, but with very different styles and outcomes.

Barney Mills-Platts’ Bronco Bullfrog is the story of Del (Del Walker), a young man with little ambition who hooks up with a 15-year-old girlfriend, Irene (Anne Gooding), before trying to find some meaning to his life on the streets and with his old mate, Bronco Bullfrog (Sam Shepherd).

Del and his gang roam the streets of London with barely a care in the world, but it doesn’t take too long for the realities of trying to make a living while still having fun with the lads start to hit home for the teen.

Shot in black and white and with a script that’s semi-improvised, this is a darkly humorous story which feels just a step away from reality, the rough edges of the amateur actors working in its favour.

Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush is at the other end of the spectrum, embracing the swinging nature of the 1960s in its gaudy colours and fantastical dream sequences as Jamie (Barry Evans) tries to chat up as many birds as possible in the less-than-glamorous environs of Stevenage.

Jamie barrels his way around town on his bicycle, getting complaints from his bored father and encouragement from his mates, including future James Herriot, Christopher Timothy.

There are also plenty of glamorous women, Judy Geeson and Adrienne Posta among them. Even the great Denholm Elliot makes an appearance as the constantly sozzled father of one of the girls.

Pre-dating the bawdy Confessions series by a few years, this is very much of its time, but there’s a hint of morality in the closing moments which set it aside from its contemporaries.

Both films come with a bundle of extras, mainly shorts related to the main features which add some context, but the films themselves are the best reason for buying these discs.

Of the pair, Bronco had more of an impact on me, but they’re both well worth sampling.

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