Movie Name: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Studio: Apple Corps
Release Date(s): July 21, 1978
MPAA Rating: PG
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band help the small town of Heartland and the world make it through World War I and World War II. When a new generation is needed to fill the role of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Billy Shears (Peter Frampton) and his friends Mark, David, and Bob Henderson (The Bee Gees—Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb) take their place. Unfortunately, record producer B.D. (Donald Pleasence) has selected the band to become famous…and intends to corrupt them through money and women. Meanwhile, Mean Mr. Mustard (Frankie Howerd) wants the magical instruments of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club band for his own nefarious plot.
Directed by Michael Schultz, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was a musical fantasy comedy based around The Beatles’ music. It is based off the 1974 Broadway show Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on the Road. The movie was released to negative reviews and the film is often listed as one of the worst films ever made.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was almost a legendary movie. People talked about how bad it was and when I saw it, I realized how true it was. The movie is bad, but it does range into the so-bad-it-is-good territory.
The movie’s plot is incidental. It is simply a means to play Beatles music. Unfortunately the story is almost as irritating as the compositions of the songs. With an overly complex plot involving magic instruments and evil promoters, the story is for kids, but kids won’t care about the music.
The movie was cast with popularity in mind and Peter Frampton plays Billy Shears with the Bee Gees backing him up…even if the Beatles had gotten back together, they couldn’t have saved this film. The movie also features tons of cameos and small roles by people like Steve Martin, Donald Pleasence, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, George Burns, Billy Preston, and Earth, Wind, and Fire. The end number features tons of cameos which almost makes the movie worth watching simply to try to pick celebrities out of the crowd…it includes everyone from Tina Turner to Dame Edna.
With the movie banking on music, the music should wow you. Once again, Sgt. Pepper’s fails. The movie manages to make the songs miserable (like George Burns singing “Fixing a Hole”). A few songs succeed like Aerosmith’s “Come Together”, but the movie takes the fun out of your favorites.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is one of those movies you actually have to see to believe. It is amazing that this movie was made when it was made and it was allowed to be made so poorly with such iconic music. The Beatles returned in a similar mash-up in 2007 with Across the Universe…which also had mixed results (so maybe Hollywood should just stop trying).