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Film / Paul McCartney Really Is Dead

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"But first of all, I want to say, how much I loved Paul; how much we all loved Paul - the real Paul McCartney."

A 2010 'documentary' film by Joel Gilbert, purporting to tell the true story of what happened to Paul McCartney in 1966. The full title is Paul McCartney Really Is Dead: The Last Testament of George Harrison. It's... not very convincing.

The story goes that on July 1, 2005, the filmmakers received an anonymous package containing a microcassette player and two cassettes purporting to be the 'last testament' of George Harrison, recorded shortly after he was attacked and stabbed by a deranged fan in 1999. In it, he describes how an argument between McCartney and the other Beatles in the Abbey Road studios in 1966 ended with McCartney storming off in his white Aston Martin. Later that evening, the other Beatles are visited by Maxwell, a sinister MI5 operative, who reveals to them that Paul has been killed in a car crash — something which, if revealed, will cause such horror among starstruck Beatles fans that they will commit mass suicide. What follows is a tense journey into the darker corners of Government Conspiracy as the three remaining Beatles find themselves trapped in a sinister conspiracy involving a lookalike and the threat of death hanging over all of them...


Well, actually what follows is an exhaustive recounting of all the 'clues' that supposedly reveal the 'Paul is Dead' conspiracy narrated by someone doing a very poor impression of George Harrison, complete with very bad photoshopping and a Government Conspiracy Theory which makes very little sense at best. But it's good for a (rather derisive) laugh.


  • Animal Motifs: Paul is associated with walruses due to Maxwell comparing Paul's corpse to one.
  • As You Know: George flat out states he assumes the listener knows the history of Beatles. However, he still gives a history lesson about the band.
  • Big Bad: Maxwell is the leader of MI5 agents and has John Lennon killed and tries to do the same with George.
  • Downer Ending: Lennon is killed by MI5, who get away with it.
  • Found Footage Films: A variant. The audio is supposedly taken from cassette tapes that the filmmaker, Joel Gilbert, found. The visuals are stock footage and images of the Beatles. Joel says that five years were spend trying to authenticate the tapes, using three different forensic labs, but each test proved inconclusive.
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  • Government Conspiracy: MI5 get involved. The reason why is not very well explained, but it seems to waver between preventing an outpouring of mass suicide caused by Paul's 'death', and... well, just the opportunity to threaten the Beatles for no real reason, really.
  • Jerkass: John and George come off as this; although they are apparently supposed to be torn apart with grief about the death of their friend, the fact that John won't stop including cruel references to "Faul" in everything he does from that point on and George views "Faul" with obvious contempt means that one actually ends up feeling a bit sorry for the impostor. George also makes a point of describing Ringo Starr as having "no real personality or talent" in what is supposed to be his last will and testament.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: If the movie is to be believed, John Lennon not only wrote pretty much everything that the Beatles recorded post-1966 (or 'worked from a backlog' that he and McCartney conveniently had), but he was also responsible for the intricacies of album design.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: "George", on top of not sounding very much like George Harrison, at several points seems to be slipping into Canadian or New Zealand pronunciation.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Maxwell and his goons are constantly noticing the increasingly obvious references that The Beatles are including to what's happened in the album covers and music and threatening them with death, but never actually bother to follow through on their threats (at least, not for 10 and 30 years, respectively). The Beatles don't exactly make a lot of effort to hide it either.
  • Portmanteau: John's nickname for the impostor, "False Paul", becomes shorted to "Faul". Near the end of the film, archival footage of the real George talking about Paul on a talk show is distorted so that it sounds like he is really saying "Faul" instead of "Paul."
  • Shown Their Work: One of the poorer examples: "George" apparently believes that the listener of his final testament is going to be completely unaware of the existence and career of The Beatles, as he takes pains to sum up in detail the history of The Beatles and every single 'Paul is Dead' 'reference' in the albums and songs.
  • Stealth Parody/Stylistic Suck: It's possible that this is a parody of poorly done low-budget Conspiracy Theorist "exposés" like Loose Change. If so, it's a terribly convincing one.
  • Subliminal Seduction: Yeah, it comes up. It gets to the point where the soundtrack of 'references' which actually weren't recorded backwards are distorted in order to appear as if they were (no doubt in order to get around certain issues regarding licensing).
  • Take That!: The creator obviously does not think much of Paul McCartney; not only is McCartney's entire post-1966 contribution to The Beatles (which, in actuality, was a lot) credited to John Lennon, he also takes the opportunity to make several snide digs at "Faul" in this guise.
    • At one point, "George" also bluntly describes Ringo Starr as 'having no real personality or talent'. This is supposedly George Harrison describing Ringo Starr in his final testament. What a dick.
    • Lennon's post-Beatles political activism and George Harrison's embracing of Eastern spirituality are also described in terms that make them seem as a cynical (and rather cowardly) attempt at avoiding pissing off the British government by pretending to be insane and a desperate and easily-dismissed attempt to bring back the real Paul's spirit respectively.
  • Title Drop: Two of them.
    • Joel Gilbert: "The tapes were labeled, "The Last Testament of George Harrison".
    • Man who claims to be Beatle George Harrison: "I am George Harrison, and I hope this is not my last testament."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The movie never reveals who sent Joel the cassettes.


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