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MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR

The Beatles

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Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I think that this film was done with the idea of not being taken very seriously. I have read a lot of bad reviews about this film, but also a lot of reviews which consider it as a funny film.

I saw it for the first time in a cinema in my city in late 1981, in a very strange film edition which also included the film done at The Beatles` Shea Stadium Concert (1965). I can`t remember how these two films were announced then in the newspapers, but maybe they were announced as "The Beatles in Concert" or something like that. I think that It was the only time that this " films combination" (intercalating scenes from both films) was presented in cinemas here. The second time I saw the "Magical Mystery Tour" film was on TV in 1998, when they broadcasted it here only once (and I recorded it on a videocassette, but unfortunately it is incomplete because I saw that this film was broadcasted on TV several minutes after it started). Now, I have it on DVD.

The "Magical Mystery Tour" film was the first project that the band did after Brian Epstein`s death. In fact, the making of the film was started only a few days after Brian`s death. But the project was in consideration even before Brian`s death, because Paul McCartney had the idea to do this film when he returned from the U.S. after a quick visit to that country during the final recording sessions of the "Sgt. Pepper`s..." album. In fact, the band started composing and recording new songs for the project months before the film was done. Even Brian attended the recording sessions of the song "Your Mother Should Know" a few days before his death in late August 1967.

Musically speaking, this film includes six new songs :

- "Magical Mystery Tour": the song which starts with the film, composed by McCartney. This song shows a few scenes of the content of the whole film.

-"The Fool on the Hill": with scenes filmed in France while Paul walks in a forest.

- "Blue Jay Way":a song composed by George, with very Psychedelic scenes. One of the best presentations of the songs in this film.

- "Flying":Psychedelic images of clouds, showed in diferent colours.

- "I am the Walrus": the best song in this film, with the band dressed as different animals playing the song in an old and not more used air field. Very Psychedelic in design, with the "Egg Men" dancing to the song!

- "Your Mother Should Know": the final song in the film, with the band dressed with white suits and accompanied by dancers! This song is in a very "oldies" style.

The film didn`t have a clear story other than a few persons buying tickets for a "Magical Mystery Tour" in a large bus. The main characters are Ringo and his auntie Jessie, who are arguing almost all the time. The "Magical Myster Tour" takes the tourists to different places, including a Strip Club on which The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band plays a song called "Death Cab for Cutie" while a stripper (Jan Carson) does her job in front of an audience which includes George and John at the front with their eyes wide open! Being a film without a clear story makes it difficult for some people to see. But it has some funny scenes, one of which shows Ringo arguing with his auntie in an exaggerated way, and even them can`t stop laughing after doing this scene. Ringo is really the star of the film, showing him as a very good comedian and as a natural actor. The other three Beatles were not as good as actors, but maybe John was next to Ringo`s acting qualities in some parts, like in the scene called "Jessie`s Dream", on which John, as a waiter, serves long quantities of spaghetti to Jessie, who is a fat woman.

In conclusion, the film is very Psychedelic on many scenes, sometimes funny, sometimes without direction and boring. But as I wrote above I consider it as a film done only for fun, and with the general idea of not being taken very seriously. The best parts of this film are the songs of course. If one see this film as a Psychedelic film done in the late sixties, one has a funny time.

Ringo Starr (listed as "Richard Starkey, M.B.E." on the end credits) is credited as "Director of Photography". I think that he did a very good job, because some of the scenes and images show very good angles or interesting landscapes.Without doubt, he has other skills apart from being a very good drummer and actor / comedian. He showed his acting skills in other films done by The Beatles and as actor in other films, but he also directed one film done at a concert by the late Marc Bolan, called "Born to Boogie", and also appeared in a Frank Zappa`s film in the early seventies called "2000 Motels" (or something like that).

This film was very criticized when it was shown twice on British TV in late 1967 (in Black and White) and in early 1968 (in colour). It was considered as The Beatles` "first oficial failure" by some critics.

The quality of the images of this DVD is not very good, maybe because the quality of the original film they used wasn`t very good anymore. The stereo sound was remasterized by George Martin in 1988 when it was released on videocassette for the first time.

Report this review (#131561)
Posted Friday, August 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Well it's not the English Patient.

When you take LSD and make a screenplay based on your experiences, the results can be.. Interesting. The Magical Mystery Tour movie could do with an accompanying guide book or an audio commentary track, just so you know what the Hell is going on. Not a conventional movie by any means. It's best to just let go and enjoy the visuals and music. A proper mindset is required.

It's not the best movie. It can be enjoyable. Definitely an acquired taste. There is no way you can look at it like a traditional movie and therefore I can only recommend it to true fans of the Beatles and people interested in alternative/experimental movies (and to all you psychedelic weirdos, of course).

The rating is more of a warning. You can still get five stars worth of entertainment here.

Report this review (#135818)
Posted Sunday, September 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars This is one of the most bizarre movies I have seen but it is The Beatles and they were never into realism on their movies. As with all Beatles flicks there are some iconic images that have stayed with me for years. It is difficult to forget the dream sequence where massive dollops of spaghetti is served up, or the psychedelic imagery of Harrison singing Blue Jay Way, such a great song, or the Eggmen and the weird entourage following the bus slowly as projected images are superimposed. The best part of the film is seen when the tour bus is on it's way to the unknown destination, with a strange cast capitalising on the zaniness. Best moments are obvious when you watch this hit and miss affair. The iconic I Am The Walrus is quintessential and seen often on Beatles documentaries. This clip is the beginning of MTV really.

The Fool on the Hill is a tour of France with McCartney frolicking among the trees for no particular reason. There are psychedelic surrealism injected in the Flying sequence with multi coloured psychedelic clouds, again capitalising on the acid soaked mindless youth culture.

Overall there is enough here to sustain the interest of the 50 minutes running time. This was actually a TV movie turned into a success thanks to marketing and the great album soundtrack with slick booklet. Worth a look if you are curious but this is not a great film by any stretch of the imagination.

Report this review (#399503)
Posted Sunday, February 13, 2011 | Review Permalink

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