Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Magical Mystery Tour (1967)

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From: "2,500 Movies Challenge" <noreply+feedproxy@google.com>
Date: Mar 31, 2015 4:40 PM
Subject: Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge
To: <trrytrvrs@gmail.com>

Dave's 2,500 Movies Challenge

#1,687. Magical Mystery Tour (1967)

Posted: 30 Mar 2015 08:58 PM PDT

Directed By: The Beatles

Starring: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr

Line from the film: "I am your friendly Courier. Mister Bloodvessel is my name. Buster Bloodvessel"

Trivia: One artist who was cast in this film but didn't appear was Jimi Hendrix. Paul McCartney wanted him in the film, but Hendrix was already committed to play at the Monterey Pop Festival

After appearing in A Hard Day's Night and Help!, both of which were directed by Richard Lester, The Beatles decided to make a movie on their own. With a handful of new songs and a basic outline of what was to follow, the boys from Liverpool hopped on a bus and, with a few of their friends, made Magical Mystery Tour, a comedy / musical that gets more surreal with each passing scene.

There's not much a premise, really: Richard Starkey (RIngo Starr, using his actual name) buys a bus ticket for himself and his Aunt Jessie (Jessie Robins) on what's promised to be a "Magical Mystery Tour", a trip with no real destination during which anything can happen. Along the way, they pick up Paul (McCartney), John (Lennon), and George (Harrison), who, with the tour guide Jolly Jimmy (Derek Royle) and his buxom assistant (Miranda Forbes), pay a visit to a military post; take part in a bizarre race; and even swing by a strip club. There's action (somehow, during the race, Ringo ends up driving the bus), fantasy (the lads also play a troupe of magicians who've taken a special interest in the bus and its occupants), romance (Aunt Jessie is wooed by a very serious-minded passenger named Buster Bloodvessel, played by Ivor Cutler), and, of course, lots of music, with The Beatles performing a number of songs that would go on to be hits, including "The Fool on the Hill", "I Am the Walrus", and the title tune, "Magical Mystery Tour".

Originally a TV special (it first aired on the BBC in September of 1967), Magical Mystery Tour teeters back and forth between lighthearted whimsy and all-out lunacy for most of its running time. There are some quiet scenes, like when John and George entertain a young girl; and some loud ones as well, including a sing-along where the entire bus sings standards like "When Irish Eyes are Smiling" as loud as they can. Interspersed between the insanity are what amounts to music videos for the band's various numbers, the most memorable being "I Am the Walrus", which, with its animal costumes and guys dressed as eggs, comes closest to matching the film's frenzied tone. Yet as much as I like this rendition of the classic Beatles song, I find myself enjoying "The Fool on the Hill" even more, a sequence that features McCartney (who performs the song) and some lovely images of the English Countryside.

Definitely a product of the late '60s, Magical Mystery Tour may be a bit too trippy for modern viewers, but with everyone involved clearly having a good time, the film also has an infectious quality that, more than likely, will bring a smile to your face.

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