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Magical Mystery Tour (1967)

The Beatles charter a special bus for a surreal mystery tour.

Directors:

(as The Beatles), (as The Beatles) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band ...
(as Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band)
Jan Carson ...
Stripper
George Claydon ...
Ivor Cutler ...
Shirley Evans ...
Accordionist
Nat Jackley ...
Rubber Man
Nicola Hale ...
Little Girl (as Nichola)
Jessie Robins ...
Ringo's Aunt (as Jessie Robbins)
Derek Royle ...
...
Miranda Forbes ...
Hostess Wendy Winters (as Mandy Weet)
...
Starlet
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Vernon Dudley Bowhay Nowell ...
Bass Player (as Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band)
Neil Innes ...
Performer on Stage (as Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band)
Roger Ruskin Spear ...
Performer on Stage (as Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band)
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Storyline

The Beatles first film since "Help" was largely Paul McCartney's project. The story follows a bus load of eccentric characters on a magic journey through the English countryside. Rather than a unified narrative, it becomes a series of psychedelic clips promoting various songs including "The Fool on the Hill," "Blue Jay Way," "Your Mother Should Know," "I Am the Walrus" and "Magical Mystery Tour." The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band are seen in a strip club playing "Death Cab for Cutie." Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

26 December 1967 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Lumottu Beatles-matka  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (1988 re-release)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For the scenes in "Flying", producer Denis O'Dell used several outtakes from the Stanley Kubrick film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). (Mentioned in the book "At the Apple's Core" by Denis O'Dell.) See more »

Goofs

John Lennon jumps up from his piano at inappropriate times during "I Am The Walrus" See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Starkey, Ringo's Auntie: Now shut up!
Richard Starkey: Shut up- to me? I've had enough of it! I can't stand it any more! I'm gettin' off! Off!
Mrs. Starkey, Ringo's Auntie: Don't get historical!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Made in England by The Beatles See more »

Connections

Referenced in Across the Universe (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Never on Sunday
(uncredited)
Music by Manos Hatzidakis
Lyrics by Billy Towne
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Weird, Creepy, Morbid, Disturbing, Fascinatingly Bizarre
11 January 2009 | by (New York, USA) – See all my reviews

Does anyone else out there find the whole "Magical Mystery Tour" package to be more than just a little creepy and disturbing? Me and my pot head buddies used to watch this all the time back in the 80s after it was released on home video (one of the first pre-record tapes I ever bought, and back then they were expensive) and I got to know it inside & out. Yet watching it now as an adult the one thing that kept striking me about the film was how it is so packed with morbid, bizarre little touches that are kind of disturbing.

First, think about the album cover, with these grown-ups dressed up as psychedelic circus animals. It is one of the creepiest covers for a pop record ever conceived of. I used to find it silly, now I see something darker and twisted in it that isn't all peppermint drops & incense. Then there are the songs themselves, amongst my favorite of The Beatles' catalog and utterly timeless examples of the psychedelic years' popular culture. Watching the band mime "I Am The Walrus" is a singular, unique experience: It was never performed or staged anywhere else by them. And George's utterly bizarre film for "Blue Jay Way" has gotten better and more mysterious over the years now that I have the patience to actually sit still long enough to see what he wanted to show us, and some of it is creepy as hell.

It's impossible to get around how deeply the music and imagery is infused with a seeming preoccupation with death, or mortality at any rate. It makes sense too since this was the band's first project after the death of their manager Brian Epstein at just 32 years of age. Where I used to look upon "Magical Mystery Tour" as The Beatles' attempt at Ken Kesey psychedelic twaddle I now look upon it as a subtle reaction to their grief and loss at having lost their friend & mentor right as they ceased needing him minding their daily affairs. The irony must have been unsettling even to Paul, who was largely responsible for this project and approached it as a way to keep themselves busy in the wake of Epstein's death. This was their expression of grief and is very unsettling because of it.

It's easy to chortle about the film's excesses being an example of how the boys needed someone to tell them "No" or how it was their first flop or misstep. I think that at the time it was impossible for their public to view the work and not dwell on the imperfections, which are numerous. Now in hindsight it's disturbingly odd, deliberately opaque and so purposefully unfocused that they must have had no idea what they were doing but had faith in themselves & proceeded as best they could anyway. It's probably exactly the movie the psychedelic age had coming to it too, waking everyone up from the party with a killer hangover and palpable sense of queasiness.

As others go to great lengths to point out, not everyone is going to enjoy this, even hardcore Beatles fans. I love the comment from another contributor of how they lost friends after showing this at a gathering: It's that kind of an experience. You'll either be fascinated by it or repulsed, as one should be by any example of artistic expression. What many may have a hard time accepting is that The Beatles were capable of making such an artistic statement, which is too bad for them. I say it's another brilliant masterpiece, though if you're looking for a trippy love fest you should probably stick with "Yellow Submarine", and if you want mop top foursome madness just watch "A Hard Day's Night" again. But for daring viewers who are content to let things be what they are this is a marvelous little head movie that may just creep you out if you let it.

9/10


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