Magical Mystery Tour (UK 1967)

Rating: *
Review Date: 11/27/09
Cast: Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr


This drug-induced experimental film is a bizarre journey into madcap lunacy, saved only by its wonderful soundtrack. Ringo Starr decides to take his Aunt Jessie on a trip, and so they board the Magical Mystery Tour bus. Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and George Harrison are already on board as well as numerous other colorful folks. The bus makes several stops, allowing the guests to participate in a free-for-all race, watch music videos, sing, dance, and daydream. At the end of the tour, the men go to a strip club and who knows where the women go. As a finalé, The Beatles perform "Your Mother Should Know" as a big budget musical number in white tuxedos. It's a nice production, but it's all they can do to try and stay in time with each other, and I'm amazed that they didn't fall down the stairs in their questionably coherent states. Musical geniuses they may be - graceful they are not. Other musical vignettes include "I Am The Walrus", "Blue Jay Way", "The Fool On The Hill", "Flying", and of course, the titular theme song. The film is a complete non-sequitur of "make it up as you go" filmmaking that bears more resemblance to an episode of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" than anything else. Not surprisingly, Ringo is the best actor of the bunch, and he's the only one who actually has anything to do. Definitely a strange slice of 60's psychedelia that only The Beatles could pull off. Fortunately, it's mercifully short and split into bite-sized chunks. Otherwise, its non-linearity would be completely intolerable. I suppose in its own way, its bizarre sensibilities laid the groundwork for the music videos that would start emerging in the early 1980s.