All You Need Is Cash

1978, Movie, NR, 78 mins

Review

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The great grand-daddy of music mockumentaries, preceding THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984) by six years, this made-for-television film conceived, written, co-directed by and co-starring Monty Python alumnus Eric Idle charts the rise and fall of the "Pre-Fab Four," known to their adoring fans as The Rutles. The film grew out of Idle's mid-1970s BBC-TV series Rutland Weekend Television, which featured fictional rockers The Rutland Stones, and was executive produced by Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels. The film follows faux-Beatles Dirk McQuickly (Idle), Barry Wom (John Halsey), Stig O'Hara (Rikki Fataar) and and Ron Nasty (musical parodist Beil Innes, who also wrote the dead-on Beatles pastiches) from their early days playing small Liverpool clubs and Hamburg's infamous Rat-Keller, through their international success and bitter break up, and charts their passage through every social trend and musical fad of the 1960s, from cheerful pop to drugged out psychadelia. Real Beatle George Harrison appears as an interviewer, and SNL cast members John Belushi, Dan Ayckroyd, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner and Al Franken and Tom Davis all have roles. The Rutles songs — including "Piggy In The Middle," "Doubleback Alley," "Hold My Hand," "I Must Be In Love," "Cheese and Onions" and "Let's Be Natural" — are uncannily good, and meticulous attention was paid to every detail of the band's costumes, album covers and movie appearances. Many sequences are modeled closely on news footage of key events in The Beatles' much-documented career, and the overall effect is so close to reality that it's downright eerie. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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All You Need Is Cash
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