Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Movies You Should See (Part 1)

…if you’re into PID


According to most Paul Is Dead theories, the movie "Help" preceded the events that prompted the Beatles to start putting clues on albums. Yet, every comprehensive list of clues I have ever seen includes some items from “Help.” Without going into the minutiae of Paul being the only one not wearing a hat on the cover, it is true that there may be some significance to the theme of making an acceptable sacrifice to the goddess Kaili. While there is no such thing as the goddess Kaili, there is a goddess named Kali,who is often associated with death and destruction.

Kaili from Help

The goddess Kali

Some have suggested that it is Kali who is front and center on the Sgt. Pepper Cover, but that was more likely Lakshmi

The new deluxe DVD release of "Help" contains a copy of the original script with annotations. A line that didn’t make the finished film referred to a green-eyed idol to the north of Kathmandu. John Lennon eventually used it, adding the adjective "yellow" in his song “Nobody Told Me.” I suspect he got it from Spike Mulligan of the Goons.

One interesting thing about the movie “Help” is that while Ringo spends the whole film trying to avoid being painted red for sacrifice, it is in fact Paul who willingly takes a bath in the red stuff shortly after being given a drug to make him smaller. How symbolic!

El Topo

Speaking of symbols, your head will spin by the sheer volume of them in the Alejandro Jodorowsky movie “El Topo.” Apparently, it was John Lennon’s love of this underground film that earned it the support of ABKCO (Allen Klein’s Company) and a soundtrack album on Apple Records.

The soundtrack was a subtle eclectic mix of styles all composed by the film’s lead actor/director, but the film itself was an assault on the senses. There are images in this film that you will try to forget. The theme of “Sacrifice the Innocent” bashes you in the face again and again. The film does have a story. It is an adventure, a quest. At the beginning there is some documentary footage with a crude cartoon of a mole (El Topo).

A voice says, “The mole is an animal that digs tunnels under the ground. Sometimes his journey brings us to the surface. When he sees the sun, he is blinded.”

I guess that could be interpreted as a nod to the fact that it is an underground film, but it could also be seen as representing the futility of the quest undertaken by the hero in the movie. All of the morality and self-discipline is of no value because it all ends in death. God doesn’t care. God will snuff you out like the Mysterious Stranger did in the Mark Twain story. The idea seems to be to keep the truth hidden just beneath the surface so that the hero will not know that his journey is an exercise in futility. We all have that possibility in our minds, don’t we? John Lennon admitted that some of his lyrics were designed to make those people who try to read too much into things spin in circles for his amusement. This film should be required homework for people who has ever asked themselves, “Am I spending too much time trying to figure out this Paul Is Dead business?”

Stranger Than Fiction

This 2006 movie starring Will Farrell is quite interesting. We have all heard about people who make sacrifices for their art. What about the concept of sacrificing someone else for your art? That’s the moral dilemma that author Karen Eiffel faces in this movie. It is a unique and interesting plot, but on first viewing you might miss the subtle references to both the Beatles and artist René Magritte. There are some intersections of those two in real life including the inspiration for the Apple Logo and Paul McCartney’s art collection. The names of the characters in the film all seem to be identified with scientists, mathematicians and artists. Farrell's character is named Crick after Francis Crick, one of the co-discoverers of the structure of the DNA molecule in 1953.

Here is a quick list of Beatles references in the film that I stole from a blog (some are admittedly weak):

Green Apple
Will Ferrell crosses the street ala the Abbey Road album cover
Farrell’s character is a Taxman
Karen Eiffel is a writer (paperback writer)
Eiffel’s assistant is named Penny
Everyone is running for cover, i.e. "When the Rain comes the run and hide their heads they might as well be dead," except Karen.
When Harold goes to the phone in the plaza the old guy using it is telling the operator that his daughter's name is Mrs Epstein, as in, Brian Epstein.
The guitar Harold gets is exactly like one John Lennon used.

A final footnote on Stranger Than Fiction involves the character of Professor Jules Hilbert played by Dustin Hoffman (who was the impetus for the Paul McCartney song "Picasso's Last Words"). Professor Hilbert devises a list of questions for Crick to ask the narrator, whose voice Crick hears in his head. How many questions, you ask? 23, of course. (For more background on the reference to Hilbert's 23 questions, follow this link to David Hilbert)

I will cover other movies in future posts.


MikeNL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MikeNL said...

hmm, yeah i know there are a lot of freemason refences in there, i have the new Help! dvd too. the quality is superb!!!

pmc27 said...

Im reading your post. It looks great, but, I have an observation. When Paul goes small doesn´t bath on red stuff. He takes a bath inside an asher with soda or water (I can´t remember) that fell off to the floor.

Tafultong said...


Thanks for the comment. You are correct that it is not the red paint that goes into the ashtray. The liquid sprays out of one of the vending machines. But, I just watched it again and it looks absolutely red to me, especially when it goes into the ashtray and Paul starts pretending he is bathing.

pmc27 said...

That´s OK tafultong. Thanks for watching that part again.

The thing was... is not the red paint.

Anonymous said...

all very enlightening. may i humbly suggest that the prestige be considered for a future post?

someone has put a link to a rather interesting article on NIR, and that article reminded me...