Paul desperately trying to deny that this movie was all his idea.The Beatles
's third film, and definitely the weirdest
The film starts out as Mr. Richard Starkey
, who is constantly bickering with his aunt, purchases a ticket to the titular mystery tour. Once on the tour bus... stuff happens, allegedly
at the whim of "four or five magicians," and in the end everyone goes to a strip club.
Basically, the Beatles and a bus full of other people drove around for two weeks, wrote the script on the way, filmed things on a whim
and hoped something magical would happen. It didn't work.
Legend has it that many of the incidents and complications that plagued the shoot were more interesting than the film itself.
It was envisioned for theaters, but instead aired on BBC 1
on December 26, 1967. This hurt the film because that particular channel wasn't airing in color yet. (Even if it had appeared on BBC 2, which was
airing in color, very few viewers owned color sets.) It was especially bad for the "Flying" sequence, which was simply filmed abstract color-shapes...
Magical Mystery Tropes:
- As Himself: Rather an odd example. Ringo Starr plays himself, but the other three are just sort of there. Then all four of them appear as magicians.
- Artistic Stimulation
- Aluminium Christmas Trees: Possibly for American viewers and anyone born after... well, about 1967. Bus tours to a 'mystery' location were a fairly common feature of British holidays in the 1950s and 60s (between most people holidaying by train and most people either buying cars or being able to afford foreign travel.) Mystery tours actually usually departed from busy holiday resorts to nearby places of interest that the tourists might not have known.
- Bigger on the Inside: The little tent that everyone on the bus piles into, which contains an impromptu theatre that shows George Harrison performing "Blue Jay Way".
- The Cameo: That's the Bonzo Dog (Doo Dah) Band singing "Death Cab for Cutie"note with stripper Jan Carson.
- Not so well known today, but performance poet and songwriter Ivor Cutler as Buster Bloodvessel.
- Censor Box: Near the end of the striptease scene.
- Concept Video
- Dance Party Ending: After the aforementioned striptease.
- Determinator: The film project was reportedly taken to get the Beatles' minds off of the loss of Brian Epstein and keep the group united. It would not be the last time a project was started to "keep the group united".
- Dream Sequence: Several, including one that involves John Lennon serving a woman spaghetti with a shovel, based on an actual dream John Lennon had had.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Victor Spinetti, who played roles in the previous two Beatles films, plays a comical, proto-Pythonesque version in one scene.
- Drunken Song: Ringo, with "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts." He gets everybody on the bus to join in.
- Fanservice: Why else would everyone go to a strip club at the end?
- Force Feeding
- Gainax Ending: Inverted: the ending (in which The Beatles and various others dance to "Your Mother Should Know") is perhaps the only normal part of the entire movie.
- Hilarity Ensues
- Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: The most complete edition of the 2012 re-release of the movie contains the film on Blu-Ray and DVD (with a bunch of extras on them, including a commentary by Paul McCartney), a book containing photos and information about the film, and a reproduction of the original double-EP that served as the soundtrack in the UK. Oh, and a ticket to go on the Magical Mystery Tour.
- Mysterious Middle Initial: Richard B. Starkey. In real life, Ringo doesn't even have a middle name!
- Narrator: John Lennon narrates, for reasons best known to himself.
- No Ending
- People in Rubber Suits
- Performance Video
- Punny Name: Buster Bloodvessel
- Random Events Plot: This is a movie where things just...happen.
- Scenery Porn: The "Fool on the Hill" sequence.
- Special Guest: The band in the strip club is the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, a band whom Paul had worked with as a producer.
- Unintentional Period Piece: Could this movie be any more 60's?