Rutland Weekend Television takes a look at the Pre-fab Four: Dirk, Barry, Stig and Nasty; better known as the Rutles. This documentary follows their career from their early days in Liverpool and Hamburg's infamous Rat-Keller, to their amazing worldwide success. A parody of Beatlemania and the many serious documentaries made about the Beatles. Written by
Alexander Lum <firstname.lastname@example.org>
As Stig O'Hara, "the quiet Rutle," Ricky Fataar does not have one spoken line in the entire film. See more »
Late in the "documentary," the Rutles' tea-drinking is treated as a scandal (parodying the Beatles' marijuana use). But in an earlier scene, there doesn't seem to be anything unremarkable about it, as the band members play with a teapot in their hotel room while on camera. See more »
Eric Idle's now-classic spoof of The Beatles grew out of his mid-seventies BBC TV series Rutland Weekend Television, which featured a fictional rock group called the Rutland Stones. A bit of creative thinking (and the genius stroke of bringing in the brilliant musical parodist Neil Innes) later, and the Rutles were born. This film, made on a tiny budget but displaying a greater range of ideas and imagination than a dozen current-day Hollywood blockbusters, tells the story of Dirk, Nasty, Stig and Barry, the 'pre-fab four', from their beginnings at the Rat Kellar in Hamburg through their first hit singles, their movies A Hard Day's Rut and Ouch, Che Stadium, tea addiction, Sgt Rutter's Only Darts Club Band, Surrey mystics, the lawsuits, the marriages, Rutle Corps and the final break-up of the band, with a glimpse of their post-fame lives.
The film is an acquired taste, requiring a certain knowledge of the Beatles' career and a liking for Eric Idle's droll sense of (mostly verbal and very British) humour, but if you enjoyed THIS IS SPINAL TAP, then this should bring a smile to your face. Despite it being Idle's project, he is very nearly upstaged at every turn by Innes, who not only offers a letter-perfect pastiche of the Beatles' songs (the highlights being 'Doubleback Alley', 'Piggy In The Middle', 'I Must Be In Love' and 'Cheese and Onions'), but also an uncanny performance as Ron Nasty - the way he walks, talks, slouches, poses and arranges his features are almost scarily close to the real Lennon, particularly his delivery of the line "I'd like to own a squadron of tanks". Everyone will have their own favourite moment, but the superb recreation of the psychedelic animation style of YELLOW SUBMARINE wins it for me every time. The cameos by Mick Jagger and Paul Simon are rather pointless, and they do disrupt the fantasy, but George Harrison is spot-on as a journalist and the Saturday Night Live players are good in their cameo roles. How could anyone resist Bill Murray the K?!
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