Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cinebomb #6: All This and World War II

How's this for wrongheaded? Susan Winslow's 1976 "documentary" pits the Beatles catalog (as performed by various stars (and unknowns) like Elton John, Ambrosia, Rod Stewart, Keith Moon, Frankie Valli, Tina Turner, The Bee Gees, Brian ferry, etc.) against newsreel footage and old Hollywood films of the Second World War. We get clips of Tora, Tora, Tora with "Sunk King" and "I Am the Walrus", scenes of fighting in North Africa play to "Help", Nazi's march in reverse to "Get Back" and so on and so forth. It even ends with a reggae cover of "Give Peace a Chance" by Hot Chocolate. All This and World War II was withdrawn from theaters after only two weeks because of ghastly reviews (20th Century Fox released it). Despite the film's failure the soundtrack was quite popular.

So, what's the deal? How the hell did this thing see the light of day? The initial idea was inspired by a dream exec. producer Russ Regan had. It was bought by Fox but even as it went into production it was unclear exactly what the film would consist of. Would it be funny or serious? At one point Christopher Guest and Bill Murray were involved. The end result is a real headscratcher - neither funny nor serious, it's both sleep inducing and oddly, insanely captivating. Enjoy.

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