Beatles' "significance" pushed to the breaking point in this bizarre documentary that juxtaposes their songs (sung by a number of rock stars) with World War II newsreel footage. Helen Reddy... See full summary »
Beatles' "significance" pushed to the breaking point in this bizarre documentary that juxtaposes their songs (sung by a number of rock stars) with World War II newsreel footage. Helen Reddy sings "Fool On The Hill" while Hitler relaxes at Bertchtesgaden, and Rod Stewart husks "Get Back" while Nazi troops goose step. Written by
The (few) negative reviewers here seem to have suffered from something of a 'But what's it for?' syndrome. It's understandable - the concept of this film is deeply odd.
But for those who get over trying to puzzle out the rationale and concentrate on the result, it's a very enjoyable one. What this film IS, is what counts: WW2 newsreel footage is interesting to watch. So are clips from war movies. Good covers of Beatles songs by competent artists are interesting to listen to. But none of these, by itself, would be likely to sustain a viewer's attention for 88 minutes. So they stuck 'em all together, edited it to add a little continuity and connection between timeline, subject matter and lyrics, and made this film.
For the majority, it seems to work strangely well. If any element flags, the others carry you along, and the gestalt somehow manages to be didactic, amusing and entertaining by turns.
I first saw this in Cinerama back in the '70s, in a state of non-ordinary reality. It blew me away. I ran around for a few days assembling a group of like-minded friends, and we all got lightly toasted and went to see it the next week. Some clot in the projection booth screwed up most of the sound system, leaving what appeared to be an effects channel, a rear speaker producing newsreel mono, and only leakage music. The result was terrible. My chums were looking at me quizzically and equating my taste in entertainment with a haemorrhoid.
Happily, the projection-room clot woke up sometime around the Battle of Midway and Elton's 'Lucy in the Sky', and the rest of the film played with all six channels as intended. My reputation was saved, but I still wanted to see the whole thing again, properly. Alas, the film was off by the next week. I'd love to see it again.
But the experience has made me nervous about buying this film from specialist DVD sellers, in case the sound has been mixed or cut down. This film is an AUDIO-visual experience, and without the multi-channel sound it's a lesser thing. I know. I was that haemorrhoid.
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