Almost universally derided since it's 1978 release, Robert Stigwood's screen version of the famous Beatles album has become a minor cult film in it's own right. With the recent death of yet another Bee Gee, leaving only bearded falsetto wonder Barry to carry the can, I thought it was time to re-visit the film, which I had not seen since it's UK TV premiere sometime in the early to mid 80s. At that time, my only interest in the film was Alice Cooper and Aerosmith (this was before they had got back together and cleaned up their act, and virtually no one in the UK gave a monkeys about them) When I remembered one of my favourite comedians is in it - Frankie Howerd and genre legend Donald Pleasence, my keenness to re-watch was increased.
The film's story (such as it is) centres around the lovely town of Heartland, USA, where the eponymous band leader and his group have been playing their way through most of America's history, helping stop wars, overcoming the depression, etc. When the good Sgt. dies, the instruments are left to the town - while they exist there, the town will always have peace and tranquility. The music must continue, though, and the Henderson brothers (The Bee Gees) team up with Pepper's grandson, Billy Shears (Peter Frampton) to keep the spirit alive. Aided by Billy's more reckless brother, Dougie (Paul Nicholas) they head out for fame and fortune, signing a contract with sleazy mogul B.D. Brockhurst (Pleasence).
Director Michael Schultz had previous had a hit with the disco tinged Car Wash and later made a few films with Richard Pryor, Greased Lightning and Carbon Copy, before heading to TV and directing shows as varied as Bruce Campbell vehicle The Adventures of Brisco County Jr, Charmed and Ally McBeal and recently did some episodes of Chuck.
Go on, give it a go. You never know, you might like it.
6 out of 10
|Producer Robert Stigwood (left, centre row) in the finale|