Sunday, 7 October 2012

The Magical Mystery Tour

One in a very occasional series of film reviews...

This morning, after being a fan of The Beatles for the last 25 years or more, I finally got to see The Magical Mystery Tour and, far from being the travesty that I was always lead to believe it was, I reckon it's the best Beatles movie of the lot! The only fault I can see with the movie is that it was a movie too ahead of it's time.
For a start it was originally seen by the nation in black & white on poor quality televisions - not like I just watched it on my colour 42" HD telly!
It also has next to no production values and was made 40+ years before reality television and video blogs made us all acquainted with that idea!
It is also a psychedelic/surrealist movie with strippers and very little plot so pretty avant garde (especially considering how straight laced Britain was at the time!) - but broadcast by "Aunty Beeb" on Boxing Day and featuring the world's most commercial band!
It also followed two Beatles films that focussed on the band's likability/cuteness - A Hard Days Night and Help! - where this film has very little of that and instead is a pretty random experiment in film making.
The production the film most reminded me of was Monty Python's Flying Circus but this was broadcast 2 years before Monty Python! And Monty Python caused a hell of a stir even then! the shock The Magical Mystery Tour must've caused to mainstream Britain on Boxing Day in 1967 is still palpable 45 years later!
For me, though, the film has two great pleasures: The Beatles and the anarchy of the film.
Seeing The Beatles perform, even all this time later, is a joy. Their character and talent put the popular bands of today firmly in the shade! (Yes, Coldplay, I am looking at you!)
And the anarchy of the film - it's lack of production values, it's lack of plot, it's lack of commercial considerations, it's silliness, even the fact that the final two songs are plastered on the end with no rhyme or reason - made the film highly enjoyable and I'm pretty sure I will never see another film quite like it!
Highly recommended.