Sunday, November 18, 2012


Help!; comedy, UK, 1965; D: Richard Lester, S: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Leo McKern, Eleanor Bron

An Oriental cult wants to sacrifice a woman to goddess Kaili, but the high priest notices that she is not wearing the sacrificial ring. The sacrifice is thus put on hold as the cult travels to London because the ring was sent to Ring Starr. The cult uses several tricks to steal the ring, but to no avail. The four Beatles hide from the cult in a ski resort, Scotland Yard and then to Bahamas. One of the cult members, woman Ahme, secretly aids Ringo. Just as the cult captures Ringo and wants to sacrifice him instead, the ring falls off while the police arrest the thugs.

The second out of only four feature length films starring the legendary Beatles (documentaries excluding), after their 1st film "A Hard Day's Night" showed that the four guys are as fun on the field of big screens as they are on the field of music, "Help!" is one of their lesser achievements, a semi-comical James Bond spoof with a mess of a story that is all over the place, filled with, what can be safely said, irreverent humor. Director Richard Lester sends the Beatles into their own 'lord of the rings' adventure where an oriental cult wants to steal Ringo's ring, which leads to numerous jokes that border on making this practically a live action cartoon (for instance, in one attempt in a public toilet, Ringo wants to dry his hands, but the hand dryer turns out to be a vacuum cleaner that sucks his whole sleeve, but fails to steal the ring from his finger), great songs and exotic locations, from a ski resort up to Bahamas, yet the chaotic storyline, that did not clearly circle out the 'good vs. evil' concept, does tend to get exhausting at times, which is visible even on the four protagonists who start to lose interest in the last third of the movie. However, since it is almost impossible to make a bad film featuring at least one of the Beatles (whether it is George Harrison's auto-ironical cameo in "The Rutles" or John Lennon's "posthumous" appearance in "Forrest Gump"), then even "Help!" is still a surreal fun if the viewers can watch it with an open mind, and some jokes are quietly hilarious (the Beatles exiting a plane and, spoofing a paparazzo, start taking photos of themselves), just not as grand as their surreal masterwork "Yellow Submarine".


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