Thursday, March 20, 2014

Give My Regards to Broad Street

20th Century Fox released this Paul McCartney vanity project in the United States, but it didn’t get much traction, even though the soundtrack spawned a hit single in “No More Lonely Nights.”

Designed as a typical day in Paul’s life, McCartney’s screenplay (his first and only) for 1984's GIVE MY REGARDS TO BROAD STREET follows the singer from recording studio to film studio to rehearsal hall, where he performs Beatles favorites like “Yesterday” and “Good Day Sunshine,” Wings hits like “Silly Love Songs,” recent obscurities like “Ballroom Dancing” and “So Bad,” and new songs “Not Such a Bad Boy” and “No Values.”

The songs are great, though their impact is blunted by McCartney and director Peter Webb’s self-indulgent staging, such as the bizarre disco-punk “Silly Love Songs” in whiteface and a long dream sequence involving “Eleanor Rigby.” As a film, BROAD STREET can best be described as inert. The plot involves the disappearance of the master tapes of Paul’s new album and the takeover of his company unless they’re retrieved by midnight. He doesn’t seem too worried about it though, and the day goes ahead as usual while unseen McCartney forces presumably search London.

As a McCartney fan, I have a soft spot for BROAD STREET while still recognizing it isn’t a very good film. It’s fun to see Paul's Beatle buddy Ringo Starr playing drums on the new tunes (he refused to play on the re-recording of Beatles songs) and the two ex-Beatles hanging out with their wives and friends. It was probably more fun for them than for us, but that’s okay. Sir Ralph Richardson made his last film appearance as a man with a monkey.

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