Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:October 14th, 2011 08:32 EST
Where's the Real Apple? Wonderwall Music and The Film

Where's the Real Apple? Wonderwall Music and The Film

By John G. Kays


If you want it, here it is, you can get it (Wonderwall) on Netflix. Wonderwall was the first Apple Record, but it`s out of print now. That`s the first Apple, not the Second Banana. Good progeny, I might point out. I-Phone 4-S out today with the same level of enthusiasm we saw formally, such as when The White Album hit the record hops of America (November of 1968).  


The restored edition of Wonderwall (on Rhino Entertainment) was reissued in 1998 by its original director, Joe Massot. George Harrison, the original creator of the soundtrack, dug back through the old master tapes, and found a lost track. This is a marvelous pop song, In the First Place (which George produced, played, and sang on) by the Remo Four, which subsequently replaced an Indian track used on the opening credit.


The film itself doesn`t have much in the way of a plot, but is seemingly about the fantasy life of a wacky professor (Jack MacGowran), who fancies a lovely girl neighbor (  Birkin), who is a fashionable model of Swingin` London. A peculiar thing about this Absent-Minded Professor`s fantasy life, is it leaves ample room for so many dreamy vignettes and theatrical set designs (created by The Fool and Anita Pallenberg), that send you to Out-Of-This-World places.


Some shapely multi-colored legs against photos of s(e)x symbol Jean Harlow, introduced in an early part of the film, is a good example for you. Another one is a love-making sequence, in a oriental-decked flat, with the trendy (for the times) Jane Birkin and mostly mod looking chap, Iain Quarrier. But it`s George`s Indian music track that clearly tips it up and over on the arty cinematic meter, turned up to 11 and 1/2, as it is.


Had enough? How `bout the cannabis smoking scene with a star-laden gypsy dancer and an Indian garbed Penny Lane puffing away on a funny stogy, with humorous pipings of Mister Harrison, keeping things light and gay all the while. Lots of bright green party hats, streamers, and ruddy brick walls, highlight the lonely solo festivities of Oscar Collins.


He has lots of peep holes in his brick wall with which to spy on his girlfriend in his dreams, but somehow the film doesn`t make it seem perverted or distasteful. Collins is just a dejected oddball, a bit of a square who doesn`t get what this counter-culture, racy swingin` London trip (of the late `60s) is all about. But the dorky prof. is intelligent, and he gradually morphs over to these hipsters` camp.


In the long run, the decadence is too much, the smoking of pot in hook-as, bowls, pipes, and cigarettes finally takes its toll (it would seem) on Penny Lane. The cad of a hipster leaves his girlfriend, since the commitment is more than he can handle. I need to opine, how could any dude leave the lovely Jane Birkin? But it`s necessary to make the ending work, where Oscar emerges as a hero, when Penny takes too many pills, since she`s down in the dumps.


Well, hopefully, Olivia Harrison will see fit to get the soundtrack of Wonderwall reissued to us ardent fans of all things Fab Four (that ever saw the light of day). Why they are holding this treasure back, one can only imagine? In the meantime, we can get our hands on this trendy art film, which serves as a testament to a cultural revolution in the arts, largely due to the efforts of The Beatles and their swarthy retinue of entranced devotees. Let`s see, what else was Jane Birkin in? 


*(Wonderwall Music Side One 1. Microbes, 2. Red Lady Too, 3. Tabla and Pakavaj, 4. In the Park, 5. Drilling a Home, 6. Guru Vandana, 7. Greasy Legs, 8. Ski-ing, 9. Gat Kirwani, 10. Dream Scene, 11. Party Seacombe, Side Two 1. Love Scene, 2. Crying, 3. Cowboy Music, 4. Fantasy Sequins, 5. On the Bed, 6. Glass Box, 7. Wonderwall to Be Here, 8. Singing Om.)