Saturday, 19 September 2009

Film Review: HELP! (1965)

Director: Richard Lester
Running time: 90 mins (approx)
Certificate (UK): U

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 19th September 2009.


This is probably about the third time I’ve seen this film, but the first time I’ve attempted a review. I really don’t want to say bad things about it because I’m a fan of the Beatles and have been for many years, having said that, I was slightly disappointed. It may just be because I’m getting older, or maybe because what was funny in 1965 isn’t all that funny today, but for some reason, today, it didn’t work for me. I think, for me, the script let it down in a major way, for the most part you could see the jokes coming from about three miles away. Anyway, I’ll tell you a bit about the plot before I continue…

Ringo has got a new ring, a large red stone that just happens to be the ring worn by the sacrificial victims of an Indian cult. The leader of the cult, Clang, wants the ring back and will stop at nothing to get it. Here ensues a mad-cap chase across England, the Alps and ending in the Bahamas. Throw in a couple of bumbling scientists, an inept Superintendent from Scotland Yard, and of course, the Beatles, and you’ve got yourself a comedy (or so they’d have you believe).

First of all, the music was excellent, all classic songs I’ve heard many times before and it was nice to see the Beatles performing them, albeit miming. Second, considering the Fab Four are not actors, I thought they performed well. OK, down to the nitty gritty, I thought most of the performances were fine, particularly Leo McKern as Clang, Eleanor Bron as Ahme, Victor Spinetti as Foot (the scientist) and Roy Kinnear as Algernon (great to see him again as Foot’s assistant). The main problem was the script, it was quite terrible. If they had made it about an hour shorter it would have been fine, but the same gags over and over again got a bit tiresome after a while. It was almost like watching a 90 minute episode of The Monkees which, I know came a little later, but has the parallel of great songs but poor comedy. Sorry to leave it on a slightly bad note, I’m sure it must be funny to someone… it just isn’t me.

My score(s):
10/10 (for the music)
4/10 (for the script)

IMDb Site:

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