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aka - The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash
UK / USA 1978
Directed by
Eric Idle / Gary Weis
76 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

All You Need Is Cash

This spoof of the life and times of The Beatles, which can probably claim to be the first music mockumentary, originally started life as a handful of comedy songs on a BBC TV. Co-writer and director Idle showed the tapes to the Saturday Night Live crew and out of this came this TV movie charting the career of The Rutles aka “The Prefab Four” from their beginnings at The Cavern to their split after Abbey Road.

Idle is best known as a member of the Monty Python team and like that famous comedy teaming, this film is a hit-and-miss affair. It is however quite well made, nicely interpellating contemporary footage and skilfully recreating famous moments from the Beatles career, like their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. The songs by Neil Innes cleverly appropriate the Beatles' musical style but give them a gently parodic twist and indeed the film gets the look and tone of the period right with Idle playing the McCartneyesque Dirk McQuickly and Innes, the John Lennonish Ron Nasty. It is a pity that there wasn't more attempt to develop the characters although John Halsey does a particularly good Ringo Starr with the small amount of screen time he has. Aside from appearances by Bill Murray, John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd there are amusing fake interviews with Mick Jagger, who enters into the spirit of the jest with enthusiasm, and Paul Simon..

If you know the source material, The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash will probably be a reasonably amusing diversion.




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