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The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash (1978)

Cast: Eric Idle, Eric Idle, Neil Innes, more...
Director: Eric Idle, Eric Idle, Gary Weis, more...
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Rhino Home Video
Genre: Comedies, Foreign, British Comedy, Parodies, Mockumentary, SNL Alums, Mockumentaries, UK
Running Time: 70 min.
Languages: English
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A mockumentary of a Beatles-like singing group called the Rutles, The Rutles is a collaboration between Monty Python alumnus Eric Idle and Saturday Night Live filmmaker Gary Weis. The members of the "pre-Fab Four" are Nasty, Barry, Stig, and Dirk. There really isn't any plot, just a series of vignettes, unctuously narrated by Idle, which mercilessly skewer the Beatles mythology. Under the guidance of agent Leggy Mountbatten (before he tragically takes a teaching post in Australia), the Rutles rise to the top with such hit songs as "Please Please Let Me Hold Your Hand" and "I Am the Waitress." Mention is made of the Rutles' film successes: "A Hard Day's Rut," "Ouch!," "Tragical History Tour," "Yellow Submarine Sandwich," and "Let It Rot." We also see such career highlights as Nasty's declaration that the Rutles are more popular than God (he meant "Rod," as in Rod Stewart), the rumor that Dirk is dead (whereupon Stiggy starts his own rumor that he is dead), and Nasty's unfortunate liaison with a Yoko Ono counterpart (depicted as a Neo-Nazi dominatrix). The Rutles gains an added veneer of verisimilitude through the participation of such rock stars as Paul Simon, Mick Jagger, and Ron Wood, as well as George Harrison himself, who shows up as a BBC commentator. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

The originator by kgf0 December 4, 2006 - 5:29 PM PST
This was the first rock-mockumentary, far predating 1984's classic of the genre, This Is Spinal Tap. Penned by Monty Python-alum Eric Idle on the strength of one of his better BBC-documentarian gags and inspired by a particularly Beatlesque song by "seventh Python" Neil Innes (who worked on the final season of Flying Circus, wrote the songs for Holy Grail, and was actually in Magical Mystery Tour), this made-for-TV effort serves as both a lampoon of and paean to the original Fab Four. Executive Produced by Lorne Michaels, who lured the project away from the BBC with the promise of a larger NBC budget, the final cut includes a number of scenes with then-SNL stars that only feel a little tacked-on. Better still is the bonus footage of extended interviews with Paul Simon and Mick Jagger that reveal perhaps more than either intended of their real feelings about the Beatles.

While Idle, true to the Python tradition, plays numerous roles with aplomb, the real standout performance here comes from Innes, who channels John Lennon in a way made more eerie by remembering that he wasn't yet dead at the time of filming. (Lennon, of course; not Innes.) The songs go far beyond mere parody, standing up perfectly well in their own right - indeed, several were favorites of George and Ringo themselves. Idle does a reasonable job of providing such background and context in the director commentary, which is long on story and short on craft. The only thing missing from the disc is captioning, which would make some of Innes' lyrics a bit more comprehensible, especially over the crowd noise in the concert scenes, and in the later psychedelic-era songs. A sequel was made in 2003.

Mockumentary 101 by Misshaped April 6, 2004 - 7:36 PM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
If you've seen the Beatles movies, interviews, etc. then you will definitely appreciate the research Eric Idle put into developing this mockumentary. If you are from another generation where beatlemania wasn't a part of your personal experience, you'll still have some great laughs. The songs are excellent take offs and it will have you pulling out your old Beatles records double checking to see if paul is dead. You might even find yourself putting some old Beatles movies in your queue (A Hard Day's Night & Yellow Submarine). Unfortunately, Help! and Magical Mystery Tour are unavailable.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.16)
75 Votes
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what would mad max do?
movies wth that jesus guy ( send all death threats to green cine c/o ('i heart jesus)
Best of the many fine (and not so fine) faux-docs on DVD. Most of these are satirical, and often knee-slappingly funny, in nature; a few more serious. Still waiting for David Holzman's Diaries on DVD.

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