Help! The Beatles are unwatchable!

Having watched as much of the digitally remastered Beatles movie, Help! (1965), on public TV as I could stand I've come to the conclusion that not all Beatles memorabilia / projects (call this what you will) should be revived and remembered.

It's not that this movie is particularly bad. The acting is fine. Some of the comedy works and, to agree with some of the people at the link above, the movie does have some very quotable lines. It's just that the plot is so ridiculous. I'm sure it was meant to be over the top and just a bit of fun to showcase the band and the music but it goes too far into extreme silliness.

To get away with this kind of silliness you have to start with a premise that is credible. This movie has a very culturally important sacrificial ring stuck on Ringo's (of course) finger. In the real world you'd just explain the situation to the famous drummer and I'm sure he'd be obliging (might even pay for his own tub of butter to help remove the ring).

However, for some reason, the ring has to recovered covertly by its obscure, Asian Cult owners and from there stupidity ensues. Complicated further by some mad scientist type who believes this ring could help him 'rule the world' (why I don't know? It's a symbolic ring with no real power or significance to anyone other than it's owners).

Maybe I missed something along the way but finally, after 'Paul's tiny adventure on the floor' I decided enough was enough and switched it off. Even as a showcase for The Beatles superb music, there just wasn't enough of it to keep me hooked.

All I can say is that you have to be a real Beatles fan to endure the entire movie. Clearly this was made at a time when the band could release virtually anything and it would find an audience to make it all worthwhile.

Personally this movie probably needs to be remembered for its highlights because as a whole, for me at least, it is unwatchable.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't watch the whole of this movie last night, as I was taping the program before it (I watched Elton John on the ABC) about a musical stage show being made about The Beatles music called, 'The Beatles: Love' which seems a good production. It's in conjuction with Cirque du Soleil, the circus people, whom I think they said George befriended years ago. I intended to watch this whilst 'Help' was on.

    I seemed to remember that the movie 'Help' wasn't a very good movie, hence my deciding not to watch it even though they gave it 3stars in the TV mag! I don't think I saw it until it was on TV in the 70s I think, and thought I wasn't very impressed with it then! (at the time of its release, 25th August, '65, I had just got married on the 7th, so would have either been on my honeymoon or just come back, as I can't remember if we went for 1wk or 2)

    I dallied to watch some of it, and the first 30mns didn't seem bad. I agree with just about everything you say about it, infact, you were spot on when you said it was just a bit of fun to showcase the band, and further on, to say that they could bring out virtually anything and it would find an audience to make it all worthwhile! I was going to say that actually!

    Young people at the time would have watched anything by The Beatles - they didn't even stay quiet long enough to listen to their music - just screamed at concerts so The Beatles couldn't hear themselves sing!

    That's why they went into the studios to record albums instead of travelling on the road, so that the public would listen to their music - I read that in their biography, and they have said it on TV docos.

    I think I put the film off in the 70s too. I was one of their fans, being only about 14yrs in 1960 when they first came out. I didn't possess any of their music owing to not having a 'record player' (almost pre-stereo days) which was a luxury at our house!

    When my sister acquired a second-hand one we only possessed one 45 inch record of Brian Hyland singing 'Fortune Teller' and the B side, which I forget now, and it was played....and played over and over again, in our small, not 'live-in' kitchen, which meant we could only stand up, with the door shut so my Dad didn't get his peace disturbed! (you wouldn't dare!!)

    I thought the acting was quite good, as they seemed to be naturally themselves, even with the funny lines. I looked at the User Comments at the bottom of the Synopsis link, and some of them were quite long. Someone thought the acting was 'wooden' and that their natural comedic selves didn't transfer to the screen, but I don't agree with any of that.

    I did put it off to watch the other program, but caught some of the last bits. They had to have the ring plot or there wouldn't have been a story for the film if the people had just gone and 'explained' as would be the same with a lot of movies that just have complications for a plot, instead of going the route you'd take in real life. (someone sits in a little room cooking up these plots - probably sit up all night!)

    To finish, someone else in the User Comments said...'Help' is one of those fast paced knockabout films of the 60s, when comedies didn't have to make sense; they just had to be whacky, colourful, fast and fun. This film is certainly all of the above'

    I'd agree with that...take the music away...and there's not much left, much like the ABBA movie, which I saw on TV, and pleased I didn't go to the movies to see it! Just someone chasing them to try to get an interview, which he manages by accident in the end when he gets caught in the lift with them!

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