Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Enjoying some "Help!"

I watched RICHARD LESTER's "HELP!" last night, and instead of rapturously following The Beatles throughout the film, which I usually do, I focused my attention on some other elements that make the movie so fun to watch.
DAVID WATKINS' cinematography is brilliant, particularly in the smoky studio scene. Watkins passed away a few weeks ago. News reports mentioned his Oscar-winning effort on "Out of Africa," as well as his work on "Chariots of Fire" and Lester's "Musketeers" films. "Help!" was one of Watkins' first films, but his genius was already apparent.
The Beatles' films included some wonderful supporting casts, and "Help!" is no exception. I love watching British character actor ROY KINNEAR. He played henchman "Algernon" in "Help!" He also played Veruca Salt's dad in "Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory" and Planchet in Lester's "Musketeer" films. His demise is one of the saddest in film history, I think: He bled to death after breaking his pelvis during the making of "The Return of the Musketeers" in 1988.
The DART-THROWING OPENING CREDITS credits are marvelously inventive, and apparently continue to resonate with rock bands.
Scots band TRAVIS referenced the dart-throwing idea in the video for their 2001 hit "Sing." The Travis video also includes one of the most memorable food fights you will ever see, complete with flying octopus. Check it out here, and watch "Help!" soon. You won't regret it.


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