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  Give My Regards To Broad Street Thank Me For The Music
Year: 1984
Director: Peter Webb
Stars: Paul McCartney, Bryan Brown, Ringo Starr, Barbara Bach, Linda McCartney, Tracey Ullman, Ralph Richardson, Giant Haystacks, Ian Hastings, Philip Jackson, John Bennett, George Martin, John Paul Jones, Jeffrey Daniel, Christopher Ellison, Amanda Redman
Genre: MusicalBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Paul McCartney (Paul McCartney) sits in the back of a chauffeur-driven limousine stuck in a traffic jam. He's on his way to a meeting, but bored with the waiting he slips into a daydream. He imagines himself driving a fancy car along country roads and being told the schedule of the day by his speaking computer and then the car phone rings. It's his manager and head of the record company (Bryan Brown) who has some bad news for him: the tapes of his latest album, due to be delivered that day, have disappeared with the employee, Harry (Ian Hastings), who was carrying them. Now the record company is threatened with a takeover unless the tapes can be found...

What do you do when your band splits up, and what do when that band was the most famous in the world? Well, if you're Mr McCartney, you spend the seventies with your new band, and the eighties with, erm, this film which is a self-penned testament to the greatness of yourself. It's not quite as pompous as it sounds, as it has a far more casual air than you might expect, and you would be hard pressed to say he didn't deserve such a tribute, but to write it himself looks like vanity, and that's what this is, the cinematic equivalent of vanity publishing with a bunch of of Paul's friends and fellow musicians joining in for a musical extravaganza.

The story is slight to say the least, and frequently interrupted by the music, which if you have any sense will be the reason you're watching it. At first we see McCartney in the recording studio where he performs "Yesterday" and others with a brass accompaniment - and who's that as the producer? Why it's none other than George Martin! Just to show how cosy this all is, Ringo Starr appears as himself on the drums, although he provides a distraction by searching for brushes throughout the first song as comic relief where it's not really needed. We're supposed to be following Paul through a typical day, and this brings in excuses to play more songs as the plot meanders along in the background.

There's the nostalgia element as you might have foreseen, but strangely not for the sixties. The "Ballroom Dancing" setpiece has a McCartney and band performing in front of ballroom dancers (clever) which erupts into a mass brawl when some rock 'n' rollers gatecrash the event. What the purpose of this is, other than looking good for the film, is unclear, and later on at the film studios we are treated to an ill advised version of "Silly Love Songs" which sees Mr and Mrs McCartney and their band dressed in white jumpsuits, face paint and wigs while Jeffrey Daniel performs his trademark "robot" (according to the credits) dancing in the foreground. Only the brief scene of McCartney busking near the end seems inspired.

There is a strange assortment of people who show up to lend their support. John Paul Jones and Dave Gilmour play on the soundtrack, but stranger than that are the wrestler Giant Haystacks, here essaying the role of dodgy geezer Big Bob (and dubbed, too) and a visibly weary Ralph Richardson in a room above a pub which he shares with a cheeky monkey. This might have turned out better if there had been some sense of urgency to the action, but McCartney barely seems interested in his missing tapes until the last half hour, only occasionally slipping in to a reverie about what might have happened to them. And if the music was as good as their original versions (bland new songs excepted) he might have been onto a winner. As it is, everything about Give My Regards to Broad Street is stilted and artificial, and it turned out that not many people wanted to see it anyway. It holds curiosity value, though.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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