Danny Boyle’s ‘Yesterday’ Recalls Other Very Odd Beatles Films

Danny Boyle’s Yesterday suffered from the same problem as the last picture scripted by Richard Curtis, 2013’s  About Time.
This being a central conceit -a freak incident means that only one person, conveniently a struggling musician, remembers the music of The Fab Four, that doesn’t really work (also see Ricky Gervais’ unwatchable The Invention of Lying).
Reviewers also criticised Curtis’ default-mode reliance on schmaltz (Love Actually the prime case).
Thinking about the movie I was reminded of the very odd big budget movie version of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1978) – where bewigged Brit comedian Frankie Howerd,  singer/actor Paul Nicholas, Donald Pleasance and George Burns joined The Bee Gees (as ‘The Band’), Peter Frampton, Aerosmith and many others in this hugely misguided effort. 

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - Official Trailer (HD)

Write-ups were (too say the least) mixed – Rolling Stone said of director Michael Schultz that he:

“would seem to need direction merely to find the set, let alone the camera”  

The Beatles seemed bemused – with George Harrison commenting:
“I think it’s damaged their images, their careers, and they didn’t need to do that.
It’s just like the Beatles trying to do The Rolling Stones. The Rolling Stones can do it better.”  
The Bee Gees careers were far from destroyed.
We’ve eventually Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe (2007) where The Beatles songs were shoehorned into a fairly trite love story, with critics generous in retrospect.

Across the Universe (2007) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

And lastly, who could forget (well many have, tbh), Tony Palmer’s All This & World War II (1976).
A movie where cover versions of the Mop Tops’s songs* are set to archive and movie footage of Hitler, Mussolini, Roosevelt, Stalin, Bogart, Laurel & Hardy and many other people not really associated with The Mop Tops.

"All This and World War II" theatrical trailer 1976

What the hell were they smoking?
Needless to say, reviews were awful and the movie has still yet to be released on dvd etc.

In the words of George Harrison…’It’s All Too Much’


It's All Too Much (Remastered 2009)

*performed by Leo Sayer, Lynsey de Paul, Roy Wood, Status Quo and Keith Moon, amongst others.
Did I overlook any? 

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Stephen Arnell

Culture Comment Content Provider. Portrait courtesy of artist Darren Coffield. 'Non satis me tempo'