Sunday, April 05, 2009

Oh Well, They're Only Facts

So my eye is caught by the headline
and off I go to WalesOnline to read a fluffy bit of an article in which the actor Victor Spinetti is quoted reminiscing about his encounters with the Beatles. All very nice and whatnot, until I encounter this:
    ...the only actor to star in all four of the band’s legendary films.

For one thing, if you stretch a bit, you come up with five films. The stretch is Magical Mystery Tour, which was made for television, but we'll be generous. That gives you:
    A Hard Day's Night
    Magical Mystery Tour
    Yellow Submarine
    Let it Be
(You might argue that Yellow Submarine shouldn't be on the list, since the band's involvement was minimal. But there it is anyway. If I let in Magical Mystery Tour, you have to let in Yellow Submarine.)

I immediately recalled Spinetti from the first two, and assumed he must have had a part in the third--an almost completely forgettable bit of nonsense with none of the charm or wit of the two feature films that preceded it (and I say that as a big fan of the Beatles) assumption that I verified with the Internet Movie Database. But what of the fourth film in the "all four" assertion? Well, certainly he wasn't in Let it Be. Did he supply a voice for Yellow Submarine? Doesn't show up in his IMDB listing.

I think we must conclude that Spinetti appeared not in "all four of the band’s legendary films" but in fact in three of the band's five movies...and one of them not exactly deserving of "legendary" status, either.

But it's so hard to keep things straight! The article's author seems unable to keep the films in order, and unwilling to take a moment to consult, say, IMDB to avoid making stupid mistakes such as appears in this section:
    “I recall in Help! having to say the line, ‘With this ring, I could rule the world,’ and the four of them lying on the floor beside me screaming with laughter and stoned out of their minds.

    “So they had to quickly put the camera close up on me to keep the film going. But that’s ok. That’s what I was there for.”

    His skill for keeping a straight face was something that also came in handy on later Fab Four films like Hard Day’s Night, where he played a nervous TV producer.

Um, what? A Hard Day's Night is the Beatles' first film, from 1964. Help! is their second, from 1965. Whence comes this "later films like Hard Day's Night"? (The writer also can't be bothered with indefinite articles, even when they're part of the film's title.)

Although we're fortunate that Spinetti saved Ringo from drowning on the set of Help!, but it's too bad he couldn't save the Wales On Sunday writer from making careless, amateur mistakes. Oh well, they're only facts.

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