Clang (Leo McKern) is the High Priest of an Eastern cult that worships the goddess Kali.  He and his followers are in the middle of a sacrificial service when the Priestess, Ahme (Eleanor Bron), notices that the woman to be sacrificed is not wearing the red sacrificial ring.  Without it the service cannot continue.  The cult leader finds out that the woman who was to be sacrificed was a fan of Ringo Starr, the drummer of the rock group The Beatles.  She sent the ring to the rock star.  Clang, Ahme and some of Clang’s minions head for London to retrieve the ring so they can continue with the sacrifice.

In London, the Beatles, Ringo, George, John and Paul go about their normal activities.  The cult makes several attempts to get the ring back but without success.  At an Indian Restaurant, the group is confronted by Clang and his supporters.  Ringo learns that, if the cult doesn’t get their ring back, Ringo will be the next sacrifice.  Ringo attempts to give back the ring, but it is firmly stuck on his finger.  When Clang and his minions try to cut the ring off his finger, Ringo and the rest of the guys make a hasty retreat.   Ahme becomes an ally of the guys.  

The boys rush to a jeweler (Peter Copley) to see if he can get the ring off.  After a couple of failed attempts, he gives up.  He tells them to see a specialist.  They end up at the laboratory of a mad scientist, Professor Foot (Victor Spinetti), and his equally bumbling assistant, Algernon (Roy Kinnear).  Their attempts are equally ineffective, however, the unusual properties of the ring causes Foot to desire it.  He believes that with it he can rule the world.

Now the guys find themselves being chased from country to country by cult worshipers and mad scientists.         

“Help!” was released in 1965 and was directed by Richard Lester.  It is a musical comedy fantasy and adventure film with thriller aspects and reminiscent of a slapstick Bond film.  It is sometimes considered a forerunner of rock musicals and MTV style videos.  It is the second film featuring The Beatles, the first being “A Hard Day’s Night” 1964.

At one point the guys are skiing in the Alps.  The shot had an ugly set of telephone wires going across the screen.  To minimize their negative effect the filmmakers superimposed musical notes on the wires to make them look like sheet music.  The effect was cool.

Oh my god.  It was so much fun hearing all those fun Beatle tunes again.  Beside the title song “Help!”, the film also contains the songs "You're Going to Lose That Girl", "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away", "Ticket to Ride", "I Need You", "The Night Before", "Another Girl", "She's a Woman", "A Hard Day's Night" , "Can't Buy Me Love" and "I Should Have Known Better", "I'm Happy Just to Dance with You”, "You Can't Do That", "From Me to You".  Some songs are performed by the Beatles, and some are instrumentals used as the music score.

It is a silly fun filled hour and a half that makes little sense but has some really good music and is an amusing little walk through nostalgia.

No comments

Leave your comment

In reply to Some User