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...
- 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 wizards.
- 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.
- Bad Export for You: Inverted. The US version of the soundtrack album contained more songs (including the two hit singles from the movie) than the domestic British version.
- 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".
- Breakaway Pop Hit: The soundtrack album in general, which got released long before the film in America; it was also much better received and is much more well-known than the film itself. "Magical Mystery Tour," "I Am the Walrus," and "The Fool on the Hill" in particular became popular hits, and the fact that Side 2 of the LP included earlier hit singles "Hello Goodbye", "Strawberry Fields Forever", "Penny Lane", and "All You Need is Love" certainly helped album sales.note
- 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
- Creator Breakdown: Of a sort; the movie was rushed into production in response to the death of Brian Epstein, the Beatles' manager, and was intended of a way of taking their minds off things and establishing some group solidarity in the uncertain aftermath of his death.
- Dance Party Ending: After the aforementioned striptease.
- The Danza: Ringo Starr's birth name is Richard Starkey.
- 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.
- 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
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: Rescued from this. Although released on DVD in 2003 (a "grey market" release with near bootleg quality video), it was at one point nearly impossible to find. However, in 2012 it was finally given an official official release on Blu-ray and DVD.
- 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.
- Shout Out:
- Special Guest: The band in the strip club is the Bonzo Doo-Dah Dog Band, a band whom Paul had worked with as a producer.
- Throw It In: This movie is made of this.
- Unintentional Period Piece: Could this movie be any more 60's?
- What Could Have Been: Oh, lordy...
- The bus was actually supposed to shown flying during the "Flying" sequence
- The "four or five wizards" were supposed to feature more frequently
- Ever wonder why the footage kind of freezes at the end of the "Blue Jay Way" sequence? Originally, George was going to be hit by the bus...
- Jimi Hendrix was to appear in the film, but it clashed with his appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival (ironically, he'd been invited to play at Monterey at the suggestion of Paul McCartney).
- Traffic filmed a sequence (set to their song "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush") to possibly be included in the film, but it did not make the final cut. It eventually surfaced on the 2012 Blu-ray release of the movie, along with several other extra scenes.
- Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: As noted above.