9th September 2022
The solo cinematic careers of John, Paul and George were covered in Part 1, which may be accessed here: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2022/08/31/the-beatles-solo-cinema-projects-some-not-so-fab-films-part-1/
So now it’s Ringo’s turn, and he co-starred alongside Richard Burton, and Peter Sellers among others. Furthermore, two-time Oscar winner Marlon Brando was in one of the films so they should have been magical … unfortunately that is not the case.
Let’s start with the source material, novels by Terry Southern.
Southern had published these books in 1958 and 1959 respectively, then in the 60s he worked on such iconic films as ‘Dr Strangelove,’ ‘The Collector’ and ‘Easy Rider.’
‘Candy’ is said to be based on Voltaire’s ‘Candide’ but I think the film, described as a sex farce, owes more to de Sade.
A blonde-haired, blue-eyed innocent teenage girl is sexually manipulated and exploited throughout the film. Ringo only appears in one sequence (with a brief appearance at the end of the movie) playing a gardener, speaking broken English with some kind of accent. He is later identified as being Mexican though he sounds pure Merseyside.
Brando appears as a guru, and actually displays some excellent comic timing. Just a pity the material is rather weak, laboured and very dated.
The film, however, was quite a commercial hit although reviews were mixed. Today it has acquired cult status and is very much a late 60s period piece, the look, the sound and social mores.
‘Candy’ was released in the US on 17th December 1968, and the soundtrack features The Byrds and Steppenwolf.
A year later, Ringo’s second solo film was released. In ‘The Magic Christian,’ he has a co-starring role alongside Peter Sellers (who had memorably played three roles in Kubrick’s ‘Dr Strangelove’).
The film is a satire on wealth and greed, and a condemnation of capitalism. Sellers plays a man of immense wealth, who sees Ringo’s character as the son he never had, and subsequently adopts him.
The film is a series of set-pieces where Sellers shows what people will do for money; a Shakespearean actor is bribed to strip during the famous soliloquy in ‘Hamlet,’ a traffic warden is asked to eat a parking ticket, and the climax shows respectable businesspeople diving into a tank of unmentionable content to retrieve paper money. This film does not go in for subtlety.
Again, the film is packed with familiar faces from film and British TV, and again, as with ‘Candy,’ it’s not a film I would rush to re-watch.
Finally, there is another Beatles connection in this film. The main song is ‘Come and Get It,’ performed by Badfinger but written by Paul McCartney.
Speaking of The Beatles, they spent January of 1969 rehearsing for a proposed TV special or live concert. This was captured in the documentary film ‘Let It Be,’ released in May 1970 by which time the band had broken up.
But the music remains … forever.
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