An exotic religious cult is in the middle of its annual sacrificing of a young nymph when they realize that the girl is not wearing the sacrificial ring, and it’s on the finger of Ringo Starr. The Beatles must remove the ring from Ringo’s finger and return it to the cult, thus avoiding death.
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Unfairly underappreciated, I think, but my opinion is coloured by wearing out the VHS tape in my early teens. An enjoyable romp with fabulous music, Liverpudlian wit, exotic locations and a studio budget, it perfectly mirrors the extraordinary narrative of their musical output, slotting in nicely between the naive boyband frenzy of A Hard Day's Night and the otherworldly surreality of Yellow Submarine.
It's not a horrible movie, but after 'A Hard Day's Night' this doesn't look very good in comparison. They were mostly stoned during the shoot. John was feeling fat, Paul was writing 'Yesterday', George found the sitar, and Ringo proved that he could act better than he could sing.
Some good laughs, no doubt, especially from Leo McKern and Eleanor Bron and the sublime Victor Spinetti and the sublimer Roy Kinnear. Some good songs, too. Not quite as amusing as it wants to be, but good fun overall.
Playing like a wackier version of A Hard Day's Night, the effect that is made by this is a step below that of the former. It has the same sense of humor, essentially, but lacks the pure energy that made the better Beatles film work. Also the pacing is all over the place and it just gets too silly to be much. The coolest part was the foreshadowing of eastern religion and music on the fab four’s career.
Physical comedy so incoherent it barely qualifies as narrative film. Still, it's worth sitting through the 90 min. just to get a close look—in colour!—at The Beatles and design circa 1964/65. The James Bond craze is very palpable, too. The few funny moments crucially involve, of course... Ringo.
It doesn't maintain the intense energy of A Hard Day's Night, but The Beatles' 2nd film is a zany around-the-world adventure that's almost as delightful as it's predecessor. With a bigger budget & an actual "plot" to work with, the Fab Four almost fight for screen time w/ the villains. And while some scenes are unneeded or missed their mark, the film is still a funny film a humor in the Marx Brothers vein.