hearts club band
(stupidly) on the album by
The Beatles (arranged stupidly)
Peter Frampton (Billy Shears)
Barry Gibb (Mark Henderson)
Robin Gibb (Dave Henderson)
Maurice Gibb (Bob Henderson)
Frankie Howerd (Mr. Mustard)
Donald Pleasence (B.D. Brockhurst)
Sandy Farina (Strawberry Fields)
Dianne Steinberg (Lucy)
Steve Martin (Dr. Maxwell Edison)
Steven Tyler (Leader, Future Villain Band)
Tom Hamilton (Member of FVB)
Joey Kramer (Member of FVB)
Joe Perry (Member of FVB)
Alice Cooper (Marvin Sunk, the 'Sun King')
Billy Preston (Sergeant Pepper)
George Burns (Mr. Kite)
Carel Struycken (The Brute)
Many guest stars (Keith Carradine, Carol Channing, Barry
Humphries, Robert Palmer, Bonnie Raitt, Helen Reddy, Johnny Rivers,
Tina Turner, Wolfman Jack, Gary Wright, Leif Garrett, Donovan
Leitch, Mark Lindsay, Peter Noone, Del Shannon, Al Stewart, Frankie
mpaa rating: PG
availability: VHS -
A staggeringly, pants-shittingly* inept "musical" that exemplifies everything
evil about the '70s.
Is it true
that an Amazon.com customer review actually called this "my
favorite movie of all time"?
I'm afraid so. See for yourself, and despair.
have anything to do with the Beatles masterwork of the same name?
It employs 29 Beatles songs
(often in embarrassingly literal ways) to tell the story of Billy
Shears and his band, who leave their idyllic hometown of Heartland
and fall in with a corrupt record producer. There's no dialogue,
just narration and endless cheesy numbers. There are characters
called Strawberry Fields, Lucy (as in "in the sky with diamonds,"
ha ha), and Mean Mr. Mustard; in other words, the movie culls
from other Beatles albums besides the eponymous one.
Penny Lane here?
No, you're thinking of Almost
is Billy Shears, and the Bee Gees are his band, right?
I'm afraid so. Frampton goes
through the movie with an idiotic grin you want to slap off of
his face. The Bee Gees are the Bee Gees.
Do any of
the Beatles actually appear in the movie?
Do we at
least hear their original versions of the songs?
hell was this allowed to happen?
Take it up with Beatles producer
George Martin; he arranged the music for the film, and should
have known better, to put it extremely mildly.
as it may be, can you pinpoint a lowlight?
George Burns (who narrates
the movie) crooning "Fixing a Hole," or Donald Pleasence
(as the abovementioned stinky record producer) attempting a bit
of "I Want You." To bear witness to either of these
moments is to die a little. You will cringe and say "Oh
man, that's just not right."
Steve Martin (in his film debut)
brings some gonzo brio to "Maxwell's Silver Hammer";
he needn't be ashamed of his participation herein. Alice Cooper
does a commanding psychedelic-Big Brother version of "Because."
Aerosmith delivers the best cover, "Come Together"
(the only song from the soundtrack that still gets airplay) --
Steven Tyler has more screen presence than Frampton and the Bee
Is it worth
seeing for those bits?
Not really. No reason is good
enough to suffer through 101 minutes of terrible taste that doesn't
even rise to the level of so-bad-it's-good. If you know someone
who owns the tape, have him/her dupe the above three sequences
actually just hear a radio DJ refer to David Bowie's '70s persona
as "Ziggy Starbuck"?
I'm afraid so. It has no relevance
to the issue at hand, but I thought I'd mention it.
under the sun who needed fast money in 1978 in this movie?
is about the only one who isn't in it, it seems. Leif Garrett,
Del Shannon, Bonnie Raitt, Carol Channing, Sha Na Na, Frankie
Valli, Donovan Leitch, Mark Lindsay, Helen Reddy, Tina Turner,
Johnny Rivers, Wolfman Jack, Gary Wright, and Keith Carradine
are among the celebrities shoehorned in at the end. Barry Humphries,
aka "Dame Edna," is also in there somewhere. Billy
Preston gets to be Sgt. Pepper himself.
I stared at the screen wondering
how anyone thought this could possibly have found an audience,
even in the degraded '70s. It may yet find one, among nostalgic
Gen-Xers who get stoned and giggle at the costumes and the sheer
relentless crappy kitsch of it all.
* "Pants-shittingly" is a