Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Discuss: The Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Movie

Doug: Even if you thought this was a complete farce (maybe next week we'll cover Xanadu...), you can't argue with the quality of the cuts like Aerosmith's cover of "Come Together" or Earth, Wind, and Fire's "Got to Get You Into My Life". Or, can you?


Anonymous said...

Dang, why does everyone come down on Xanadu? Yes, it's a cheesy mess, but at least it's a fun cheesy mess. :-)

As for SPLHCB... eh. I find it drags, like, a lot. But the musical numbers never bothered me -- it's essentially a cover album. Steve Martin in the 70s was always fun to listen to, and I still maintain Billy Preston's "Get Back" is much superior to four white Liverpool boys trying to do a R&B song... :-)

Humanbelly said...


I suspect this film is gonna draw a TON of derision and abuse from the folks 'round these parts. It shows up on a LOT of "Worst Musical Movies"-type lists. Legitimate movie buffs do really seem to hate it gleefully.

But I was a very retro-Beatles Nut in the late 70's (my late teens, also)-- and anything with a Beatles connection got a happy, obliging thumbs-up from me (Well, okay, maybe not GIVE MY REGARDS TO BROADSTREET. . . ). And this movie was definitely no exception. I am going to TOTALLY lead with my chin and take all of the punches, 'cause I honestly LOVED this odd artifact of that time. . . AT that time (don't know if I would love it now).

It was a strange gestalt that prominently included a number of musical artists that I didn't particularly care for: The BeeGees (who I loathed at the time; actually like them better now); Frampton (okay, but not a fan); Paul Nicholas (Heaven on the 7th Floor, 'nuff said); and, I'm afraid, Aerosmith (like them sooo much more as I've gotten older). Ya smersh 'em all together, and suddenly they're working for me--.

But the huge hook for me was the lovely Sandy Farina singing that achingly sweet version of Strawberry Fields Forever. The context of the words themselves really made no sense at all, nor exactly did her emotional response while singing it-- but it struck a deep, deep chord for me (no pun, there), and bringing it to mind still chokes me up.

And one final point-- I saw the film (yes) three times. Once in high school, and twice in college (part of the school's eclectic big-screen movie series my Fresh & Soph years). It is the perfect date movie. I will not be indelicate. . . I will just say that it clearly cast an enduring aura of romance over the entire rest of the date/evening with every viewing. I. . . think it's part of the truly huge-screen experience that simply can't be recaptured on anything smaller. . .

HB (Gonna have to go dig that vinyl out, now. . . )

Edo Bosnar said...

I can't disagree too much with the general consensus (as I perceive it) that this movie was a hot mess.
However, when I first saw it as a preteen on TV about 2 years after it was released in theaters, I totally loved it - for different reasons than HB, but I still just loved it. I had just become a big fan of the Beatles, and I also liked Aerosmith, and I wasn't yet as discriminating, nor did I yet understand how offended most Beatles fans were over the movie or why.
However, a few years later, in about my junior year of high school, I saw it on TV again (this time on Sunday afternoon instead of late evening slot) and I cringed through most of it.

david_b said...

I actually love the Xanadu soundtrack.., just great, well-polished songs. Love the title track, very catchy.

Ahhh, ok, 2nd sip of coffee for the discussion topic at hand.

Hmmm, ok -- 3rd sip.

I'll start with admitting I've never sat through the entire movie. And I like George Burns's bits from what I saw. This is one of those films that the 'back-story' is perhaps FAR more interesting than what you saw on the screen. Steve Martin had better spotlights.., luckily he was perhaps the only star NOT tarnished by being associated with this project, as Aerosmith was still not far enough in the public/pop consciousness to be affected, and Earth Wind and Fire did score a great cover here.

Did the BeeGee's bite off more than they can chew..? Who had the shear audaciousness (Billy Shears, get it..? Nahhh) to actually pull off such a project..? Granted it was done at a time where a lot of Fab projects (motion picture soundtracks, plays, fan conventions) were brewing, this being the most adventuresome (and blantantly outrageous..?) of 'em all.

I had a one friend who really liked the soundtrack, so I fed him the original Beatle album and he found it boring. We didn't stay friends long.

I will say the soundtrack comes off better than the album (like the later 'Give My Regards to Broadstreet' by Macca), I find the movie itself similiar to the aura of the Stones 'Satanic Majesties' album whereas the concept of 'beautiful loser' status permeates, which is where all similiarities end, trust me.

Was it trying to be cutesy.., or just sickeningly 'over-the-top'..? To me it's much like one of those chocolate-covered marshmellow's at Easter. A simple, curious bite reveals nothing but fluff.

Who lay claims to actually writing this fiasco, anyways..?

Who actually thought the Bee Gees could act..? Did someone actually conceive that, since the Fabs were a happy surprise with 'Hard Days Night' that gee, perhaps these guys were talented enough to carry a movie.

Their music and vocals are outstanding, don't get me wrong there. And I believe it was Frampton who was supposed to actually be the 'leading man' here..? I haven't checked Wiki, so as mentioned earlier, this is definitely a movie where what happened behind the cameras (personalities, lawsuits, set issues) were FAR more interesting than what we ended up with.

I'll be interested to read other's comments.

J.A. Morris said...

Not a fan. I was 7 when it was released, even then I remember saying "what's the point?" The one time I saw it on tv, I also thought it dragged, seemed to go on forever...and ever.
I never liked the Bee Gees either, so this movie has always been a hard sell for me.
But I'll agree about Earth,Wind and Fire's cover, one of my favorite Beatles covers. So something good came out of the movie.

Karen said...

I've never seen it, just clips from it, and I have to say, I have no desire to see it. Maybe I'm being closed-minded but it's just not my bag, baby.

Humanbelly\ said...

IIRC, (and keeping in mind that I last saw this movie in the winter of 1981. . .) there was little or no dialog whatsoever. Frampton was indeed the protagonist, yes, and the BeeGees were his wingmen-- but I'm not sure if any of them ever spoke a line out loud. It was all George Burns' narration for just about everything, right? It didn't register with me at the time, but that really does say A LOT about the relative, even-rudimentary acting skills of the stars. That's kind of an old B-movie and C-movie horror flick trick when the lead "talent" was simply not up to the task at all-- tell the whole thing from the perspective of a "narrator", like a reporter, or storyteller, or military official or something. I believe Robert Stigwood was the producer, and he was savvy enough to know when to change course to protect such a massive investment (is my wild guess).

George Burns' narration does lend a surprising air of perhaps-unearned legitimacy to the thing.


Anonymous said...

"De gustibus non est disputandem."

A co-worker of mine liked it, because, as she succinctly put it, "Peter Frampton's a fox."

Humanbelly said...

Whiiiiiiiiich is why so many of guys didn't like him, yes. Him and that THRICE-BLASTED handsome-as-Thor Barry Gibb.

Rassafratchin'. . . chick-magnet. . . . girl-friend pre-occupyin'. . . etc, etc. . .


Dr. Oyola said...

I've never seen it.

I want to like Earth, Wind and Fire's version of "Got to Get You Into My Life" but don't.

Horace said...

Marvel's comic book adaptation of the film was never published in the U.S. This was partly because of the commercial response to the film. George Pérez, the book's penciler, has said publicly that the convoluted plot and lack of cooperation from the film's producer made the project very difficult. He's glad it was never published in the states.

WardHillTerry said...

I've got a soft spot for it because this was my first date movie in High School! I still haven't seen the second half! Thanks, Jane!

The Prowler said...


I have memories of this movie but no memory of having seen it on at the theatre. So maybe on VHS or TV.

I do think that those that produced the movie did so with the full intent of doing it large, not on the cheap. From what Wiki says, this started, as most banes on our society, as an off-Broadway production and then brought to the large screen.

Broadway to movie aside: When Grease went to the large screen and Olivia Newton-John was cast as the high schooler Sandy, her songwriter wrote two songs to feature her that were not in the original Broadway production. Summer Loving and Hopelessly Devoted To You became huge hits and then shoehorned back into the production. Later, the story was scrubbed and sanitized and produced in Junior Highs across America. What's next!?! Intermediate School productions of Sweeney Todd's The Barber!?!

Dagnabbit, I think I just got lost in HB's campground again. Same rock, same place.

What I do miss about the 70s? A nice Whiskey Sour, windbreakers, tube socks that went to your knee, winning the pot with an Irish straight, Frings and Root Beer in a frosted glass.

(I gave up looking for a reason to live with things just the way they are I came around
Used to be easy to get to
And they got to me just about every way

Caught with no cards up your sleeve
Not much to choose from
Grew up all along thinking you couldn't lose
Don't want to live without that security
You think with just a little more
Things will be alright

Can't stop the world
Can't stop the world).

Doug said...

Prowler, once tomorrow's post sees the light of day, I'm going to feel like I need a leash I'm afraid.

Oh, not for me. No sir.


Anonymous said...

I miss the 70's too, It was great, the sun was always shining, and then all of a sudden it was 1980 and I was 12 and everything went to hell in a handbasket.

Humanbelly said...

Oh Prowl-- the reason you're lost is 'cause you took a slightly wrong turn on the Grease Tangent Path. You're certainly not the first- let me getcha back on the trail: Half-right with the show-to-movie-back-to-show sequence. SUMMER LOVIN', however, is indeed in the original Broadway show. It's the finale' of the film "YOU'RE THE ONE THAT I WANT" which has more or less supplanted "ALL CHOKED UP" in the show-- and very deservedly so. All Choked Up is rather a musical and energy let-down right at the end-- just misses the mark.
Honestly, I can't stand the show's message AT ALL ("Conform and be popular; being true to yourself will only cause you pain and loneliness.")-- but it is absolutely a BLAST to do as a performer.

There you go, Prowl-- the Ranger station is just two rattlesnakes further along the trail, here. You go on ahead. . .


Graham said...

I never saw the movie, and nobody that I knew at the time saw it either.....I think it actually left the theaters a few days before it started. I heard the soundtrack a couple of times and the only tracks that really stuck out for me was Aerosmith's take on "Come Together," Billy Preston's "Get Back," and EW&F's "Got To Get You Into My Life." I was a big EW&F fan at the time and I thought they deserved credit for at least reworking the original.

Sometimes you just know a bad idea when you see it and I remember, even at the age of 15, realizing that this was a train wreck in the making. I liked the Bee Gees and Frampton, but this is the Beatles we're talking about, folks. WHY would anyone think this was a good idea??!!!

Allen said...

I remember being in sixth grade and the question in all the teen magazines was "Are the Bee Gees the new Beatles?" My sister went to see the movie and obviously tried to like it - she was a huge Bee Gees fan at the time. But to hear her describe the movie, it was obvious that she couldn't like it no matter how hard she tried. She had bought the soundtrack album and it ended up in my collection years later when she passed it down to me. Within a couple of years I finally heard The Beatles original version and finally understood what all the fuss was about. The Bee Gees soundtrack album still sits in my collection today, a reminder of the exess of the late 70's and 80's.

Anonymous said...

WHY, WHY, WHY you ask???

And the answer is.....




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