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Magical Mystery Tour Review

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The Beatles tour around on a bus, their random, episodic, encounters strung together by music videos.

★★★★★

Contrary to The Beatles' intentions, Magical Mystery Tour demonstrates that untrammelled "creativity", though believed A Good Thing at the time, is able to come up with barely adulterated drivel when exercised free of the order a Lester puts on the narrative. Starting with the basic idea of, yes, a coach tour, the group appears to have forgotten to include a story. Too busy spliffing up, I suppose.

Throughout the film, for which Ringo served as Director of Photography, there's a sense of the British Spirit being gently spoofed, but it's to no great point. It's a more expensive, less inspired take on Lindsay Anderson's The White Bus of the previous year, replacing Anderson's harder social surrealism with a common or garden whimsy laced with unappetising dollops of mystic hippy nonsense masquerading as significant comment. The music this time round is less reliable than in earlier Beatles' films: George's Blue Jay Way well merits the fast-forward touch, for instance, and though it's fun to see the I Am The Walrus segment again, the most refreshing appearance is that of The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, caught backing a stripper on Death Cab For Cutie.

Never magical, this hotchpotch of colourful, unrelated snippets is certainly a mystery.