Another Post About All the Little Things I Love About HELP!

Continuation of this post

Last time ’round, Ringo’s pants had just fallen down and Paul was very encouraging about it. Now, after the scientists’ failed attempt to remove the sacrificial ring from Ringo’s finger, the Beatles head back to their flat to…sing a song! What else?

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And Paul is trying to impress Ahme (Eleanor Bron). Typical.

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George, on the other hand, is verrrrrry suspicious of her.

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And when Ahme pulls out a needle, George passes out. Poor thing.

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This is the “intermission.” Remember, the Beatles smoked marijuana for breakfast around this time–and were just naturally very silly, very funny people.

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George is alarmed that Ringo would just give up this valuable ring; John is psuedo-alarmed at George’s alarm.

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Paul asks if the medicine about to be administered to Ringo is “habit-forming”; George assumes he is talking about the gum he is about to pop into his mouth.

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And believe me, it is very exciting. He wraps himself in a Wrigley’s Gum Wrapper. Need I say more?

 

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Clang and the gang have turned up, and I love how, amidst the confusion, George strangles John, responds nonchalantly when John tells him that it’s him, and continues to do so.

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George–always on the lookout for some extra cash and his friend’s best interests (and in that order!!).

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See what I mean? When the scientists arrive and inform Ringo that they shall have to operate on his finger, George wants to make sure it will be covered by the government. Ho!

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And then the Beatles go skiing…and they’re not very good at it. (It was their first time!)

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Not being very good at skiing, the Beatles decide to just sort of…fall over…

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…And sing a song instead! Convenient, that piano is.

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And hey, let’s have a picnic, too. And a toast! To us! Tonight!

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I love how this was the Beatles’ first time skiing, how they (or at least, Paul) asked that it be worked into the script somehow, and how John is really, really bad at skiing and just annoys anyone else on skis who happens to know how to ski. Ho ho!

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Pretty sure this is my favorite line in the entire film. Pretty sure I used to say this when coming out of the bathroom in elementary school. Pretty sure I had no idea what it meant. Pretty sure I should start proclaiming this to announce my farts. Especially now that I know what it means.

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I love how George is suddenly hungry.

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Ya think?

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Oooh, sassy.

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Look, if you watch this film with me, this is just one of those moments where I hit PAUSE. And there is a moment (or two…or three…or maybe even four…) of silence for The Cheeks. Once, I did this, and my dad was in the same room and got very flustered and said, “Why did it stop?” Uh, HELLO.

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The Beatles have now taken refuge in Buckingham Palace, and John decides this is getting a little to ridiculous and decides that it’s time to get of that ring…even if it means getting rid of Ringo’s finger, too!

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I know Paul was The Cute Beatle and all, but sometimes I like to call him The Bossy Beatle.

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Ringo does what Paul says (who has the will to disobey Paul’s wishes?), and George seizes this opportunity to sneak a peek at Ringo’s hand.

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George Harrison remembered this scene taking days to film, due to their incessant giggling  (a residue of their breakfast, remember).

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Two words: Paul’s face.

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Must be. That’s what I always do on my tea break. Actually, I don’t have tea breaks. But my sister does and that’s what she does.

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You gotta read this line in slow-motion. You just gotta. Done it? Don’t it sound a million times more AWESOME?

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George is very pleased with himself because he’s managed to avoid paying the pub bill. And John’s just…being John.

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Exclaimed movie audiences everywhere.

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Note: This is Paul speaking to Ringo, not the other way ’round.

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George, your face.

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You kind of have to hear John’s grumpy old man voice to fully appreciate this, but this is very nearly almost my favorite part in the whole movie. Wait, I’ve said that before about some other part, haven’t I?

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They’re going to the Bahamas, by the way. And we’re just gonna have to pause for a few more minutes. For obvious reasons.

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I love that George is playing this “drop something on Ringo’s head” game.

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My precioussssssss!

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Oops. I think somebody just touched something they weren’t supposed to.

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I actually have no idea.

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I love this expression of rare outrage from Ringo. The fiends!

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Perfect summary of this movie.

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I believe the expression is the cat who swallowed the canary!

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I love George’s imitation of Tarzan. Almost as good as Peter Tork’s, if you know what I mean.

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You tell ’em, Ringo! It’s good to see Ringo finally standing up for himself.

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A happy reunion!

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End of the film shenanigans.

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Just a bit of trivia: The “white cliffs of Dover” swimmer is played by one of the Beatles’ road managers, Mal Evans.

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And the final thing I love about this film is this closing dedication. Why was this film dedicated to Elias Howe? I don’t know. Does it really matter? No. It’s just reflective of the absurdist nature of this film…and I love it.

And that concludes all the little things I love about this movie. Okay, so it didn’t take me 250 posts to write about all the things I love about Help!, but it could have (I cut out a lot). Now do yourself a favor and watch this movie and laugh, laugh, laugh, and laugh. And watch out for those fiendish thingys. Ho, ho!

 

 

 

 

 

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A Post About All the Little Things I Love About HELP! Part One of…I don’t know, 250?

Oh, Help!. There are just some days when I just feel like I need some Help!. Wait, I take that back. I don’t need “some” Help!; I need A LOT of Help!. In fact, I need all the Help! I can get.

I’m talking about The Beatles’ second feature film, by the way.

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A Hard Day’s Night is my favorite Beatles film and one of my favorite films, period. It’s perfect. It is superior to Help! in many ways, but Help! is special. In order to watch Help!, you have to suspend reality and allow yourself to enter this fantastical, absurd world where the Beatles reside, a world where Ringo (who else?) is in possession of a sacrificial ring that he cannot remove, and, as a result, various groups of people chase the Beatles for possession of the ring for sacrificial reasons and power. Whereas A Hard Day’s Night was a semi-realistic fictional representation of a day in the life of The Beatles, Help! has maybe one fraction of a fingernail based in reality. But that’s part of what makes it so much fun.

John Lennon recalled the experience of filming Help! in 1980: “The movie was out of our control. With A Hard Day’s Night, we had a lot of input, and it was semi-realistic. But with Help!, Dick Lester didn’t tell us what it was about. I realize, looking back, how advanced it was. It was a precursor for the Batman ‘Pow! Wow!’ on TV–that kind of stuff. But he never explained it to us. Partly, maybe, because we hadn’t spent a lot of time together between A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, and partly because we were smoking marijuana for breakfast during that period. Nobody could communicate with us; it was all glazed eyes and giggling all the time. In our own world.”

I think that sums up the movie pretty well. (By the way, I used the whole “The Beatles used to smoke marijuana for breakfast” as a conversation piece as an eight-year-old. Totally normal.) The Beatles certainly are in their own world, and through watching this film, they allow you into that crazy world for about ninety minutes or so. Result: delirium.

I’ve watched this film a lot. I think I know the script by heart. I love so many things about this film that it might actually take me 250 posts to share all of those things with you. But for now, here’s part one of all the little things I love about Help!–subtitles taken out of context, facial expressions, plot points…everything. Brace yourselves.

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But before we get to all those wonderful things, I’d like to point out this moment in the film and its effect on my young life. As a child, I shared my obsession with the Beatles with many, many people, but the most tolerant recipient of my nonstop enthusiasm for this band was my younger sister, Molly. So she watched Help! almost as many times as me. Now, Ringo was (and still is) Molly’s least favorite Beatle. (I’ve been trying to get her to agree to medical attention for years!) And I had many, many Beatles posters, but I had one particular poster that was my favorite–partly because I loved the photograph so much, partly because it was my first Beatles poster. And one day, I discovered that SOMEONE had inserted a tack into Ringo’s pupil. Yeah, I wonder who that was. And I wonder where they got their inspiration.

Point of this story: Be careful whom you allow to watch Help! with you, people. I mean, you do something REALLY nice for someone else by letting them watch this WONDERFUL, FUNNY film MULTIPLE times, and they end up using it against you. Wow. I repeat: BE. CAREFUL.

Now, onto nicer, pleasanter things!

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I love how many copies John has of his own second book, A Spaniard in the Works.

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I love how Paul has an organ that rises out of the floor and how, in place of sheet music, it is filled with comic books.

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Yeah, Ringo. (Note: all the copies of his book!)

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I love how John calls the others to wake them up via his alarm clock.

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Old people in purple turbans. Can’t even pronounce Beatle correctly. Geesh.

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Paul’s disappointment at not being the “Bea-atle” whom they seek. Poor Paul.

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This is my standard response to unsavory invitations, too. “Hey, wanna go see the new Twilight movie?” “No thanks, I’m rhythm guitar and mouth organ.”

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Nah…but your face did!

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That’s what first attracted all of us to you, Ringo. That and that humongous…ring on your finger.

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Nipple alert.

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This is how the others laugh at Ringo. Ho!

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Geeze, Ringo.

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John then says, “I like a lot of seasoning in me soup.” I think part of why I like this part so much is because before I owned a copy of Help!, I had a VHS tape of a televised airing. And during so many viewings, about three seconds of the film right around here got taped over because I pushed RECORD instead of PLAY on the VHS player. I cried myself to sleep for years over this. Then Help! was released on DVD, and I cried tears of happiness.

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I love George trying to wink.

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I love George sneakily shoplifting at the Jeweler’s.

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But I love John’s not-so-secretive attempts at shoplifting even more.

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Oh, no! The wheel! (Which breaks.)

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Ringo is so profound. How does one choose Ringo as “least favorite”? I do not understand.

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I repeat: How does one choose Ringo as “least favorite”?

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An accurate description of my life.

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I see where Bob Dylan got his inspiration.

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Yeah, my sister may have said she didn’t like Ringo, but I’m pretty sure she crapped her pants during this scene every time.

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Paul’s reaction to Ringo’s pants falling down, ha ha ha.

That’s all for now. There’s so much more to come. Stay tuned for part two!

A Really Big Shew

“Now yesterday and today our theatre’s been jammed with newspapermen and hundreds of photographers from all over the nation, and these veterans agree with me that the city has never witnessed the excitement stirred by these youngsters from Liverpool who call themselves The Beatles. Now tonight, you’re going to twice be entertained by them–right now and again in the second half of our show. Ladies and gentlemen, The Beatles!”

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(And just in case you weren’t sure, those really big arrows are pointing to THE BEATLES.)

February 9, 1964. A mere 79 days following the assassination of President Kennedy. Just two months earlier “Dominique” by The Singing Nun had been the number one single in the United States for four (!!!!) weeks straight. And a performance of five songs, with a total stage time of not even fifteen minutes, by these four ridiculously charismatic and talented long-haired Liverpudlians was all it took to change the musical and cultural landscape forever.

People remember watching this performance, a performance that signaled the beginning of the musical reign of The Beatles, a group who would mingle commercial success with artistry, musical experimentation, and pure talent like no other artist has managed to do since. But you do not have to remember watching The Ed Sullivan Show live on February 9,1964, and you do not even have to fully understand the musical and historical context of the time to recognize how seminal this performance was.

They–and their music–are buoyant, bursting with life, something the country sorely needed then (and more than likely has always needed and still needs). Just look at them! Aren’t their energy and smiles infectious? The answer is yes, yes, they are! And I want to dance around in my underwear because this music is so exciting and energetic and ALIVE!!

Okay, maybe not everyone would admit to feeling the latter, but I know ya’ll feel that way.

So here are a few of my favorite things about this performance, its cultural significance aside.

1. Meet the Beatles! 

I love how each Beatle is introduced, how we are supposed to want to learn their names, and how their individual personalities shine through. And I also love how Tom Hanks replicated this in That Thing You Do!, replete with the warning, “Careful, girls: he’s engaged!” under Jimmy’s name. And then I love how Jimmy bursts into the dressing room after the show and demands, “Which one of you BUTTS said we were engaged?” And I will have to talk about That Thing You Do! another time because I really, really, really, reeeeeaaally love it. Okay.

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It’s so appropriate that Paul is singing “Till There Was You,” one of those old-fashioned, cheesy sort of songs that he loved to integrate into the Beatles’ repertoire that lost its cheesiness and became oddly endearing once they put their stamp on it. It’s also appropriate that his eyebrows intermittently disappear under his hair because he’s raising them as he sings, melting millions (yes, millions) of girls. Not just melting girls’ hearts. He’s melting them entirely. That’s just the Macca way, ya’ll.

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I love how Ringo is initially so calm, cool, and collected, seemingly unaffected by the screaming girls, and then he just bursts into his big, contagious smile. Don’t you just love Ringo? I do. I really, really do.

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George! His smile is also contagious. And he just plays the guitar so effortlessly. And he just looks so effortlessly cool while doing so. But you don’t get the impression that he thinks he is so great (even though he is). He’s just….George! And would you believe that just earlier that morning he was too ill to attend rehearsals for the show? (Neil Aspinall filled so that cameras and lighting could be set up. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.)

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Awwwww. My precioussssssss! I know you’re married, but I just want to put you in my pocket for safekeeping.

2. The way Paul sings “I’ll aways be true-uh” in “All My Loving.”

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And how darn big his smile is while doing so.

3. Yeah, she loves you. And you know you should be glad. Whoooooo!

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Yeah!

Yeah!

Yeah!

Oh, I love it when they do that. Because I’m actually twelve years old.

Kenny Lynch, singer who toured with The Beatles in early 1963 said: “I remember John and Paul saying they were thinking of running up to the microphone together and shaking their heads and singing, ‘whoooooooo.’ It later became a very important, terrifically popular part of their act when they sang ‘She Loves You.’ But at the time they were planning it, even before the song was written, I remember everybody on the coach fell about laughing. I said, ‘You can’t do that. They’ll think you’re a bunch of poofs.’ I remember John saying to me he thought it sounded great and they were having it in their act.”

And millions of girls screamed. And millions of records were sold.

4. This little moment in “She Loves You”:

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Right before another chorus of “Whooooo” and “Yeah, yeah, yeah!”, John turns to George, and George breaks into this huge grin, and we see John begin to grin, too, as he turns back to the microphone. This just might be my favorite moment of the performance. I’m not sure why–maybe because it shows the camaraderie and affection between them, maybe because (once again) their smiles are just so dang infectious, or maybe because it is just another illustration of how adorable and precious this band is.

5. How the camera goes to Ringo during “And when I touch you, I feel happy inside…” during “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” 

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It’s just so appropriate. And oh so romantic. And so embedded into my being that I cannot listen to that part of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” without seeing the camera inch closer and closer to Ringo. That’s normal, right?

Oh, and then the camera totally goes to me in a former life:

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Yeah, that is so me. I feel that way every time I listen to this band. And by “that way”, I mean HAPPY! EXCITED! GLAD TO BE ALIVE!

Okay. Neeeeext!

In The Beatles Anthology, George remembered: “Later they said, there was the least reported–or there was no reported crime. Even the criminals had a rest for like ten minutes while we were on.”

I don’t know how accurate that report was. But I think it’s a fitting reflection of what the Beatles and their music partly represent–an escape from the ills and worries of the world into pure bliss. And they made millions of people feel that way 49 years ago today as they performed on a really big shew (translation: show, not shoe).

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P.S. Davy Jones, Monkee-to-be, also performed on the very same show as part of the cast of Oliver! (He was The Artful Dodger.)

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Jones later said: “I watched the Beatles from the side of the stage, I saw the girls going crazy, and I said to myself, this is it, I want a piece of that.” I think he got his wish. Can you believe it’s almost been a year since Davy passed away? We miss you, Davy!