Wonderwall: The Movie Reviews

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“Wonderwall (Wonderwall: The Movie) ”


written by jfderry on 30/08/2006

Wonderwall (Wonderwall: The Movie)
Joe Massot. Music by George Harrison
Although made in 1969 and packed with outasight cool hipsters from that dawning of an innocent new age, Joe Massot's Wonderwall is essentially a film for today's current distraction with voyeurism (Big Brother, fly-on-the-wall documentaries etc.). The wonderous wall in question is not an immediate metaphor, but simply made of brick and separates the fusty old dwelling of an eccentric Professor of microbiology, Oscar Collins (Jack MacGowran) from the funky modern party pad of beautiful young thing, Penny Lane (Jane Birkin). MacGowran is probably best known as Burke Dennings in the "Exorcist" and Petya in "Doctor Zhivago", but his depiction of the antisocial boffin as a cross between Einstein and Jacques Clouseau is superb. New Yorker Joe Massot is a rarity, not limited to film direction alone, but also a music producer, author and screenwriter; he brings a fluid musicality to his direction. This is also felt in his direction / production of Led Zeppelin's "The Song Remains The Same" whilst producer Andrew Braumsberg cut his teeth on Wonderwall before going on to work on Chinatown and the exquisite "Being There" with Peter Sellers.

After tantalising us with much erotic stretching and pouting, Penny's downfall is quite ironic set in a growing culture of Free Love and contrceptive pill-driven promiscuity when her problem is simply the timeless one of unwanted pregnancy. From his peephole perch back in his pad, Oscar fantasizes of being her saviour, emerging victorious from a duel with the bad and, now he knows of his impending fatherhood, increasingly unfriendly boyfriend. But Oscar is a lovelorn Casanova with the dress sense of "A Clockwork Orange"'s Alex, who manages to look more like a Fleet Street Don Quixote, and at first glance, has little chance of winning over the desperate maiden's heart.

The schizoid soundtrack by George Harrison, the main attraction for many, provides honky-tonk knees-up for the Pythonesque prancing and Harrison's first opportunity to give the public an instant introduction to Indian classical music for the exotic hippy moments. Amazing to learn that this soundtrack dates from 1968, well before "the breakup", and a year before the experimental "Electronic Sound", but adopting some of the same fascinating electronic loop techniques. Of note, a certain Shiv Kumar Sharmar on santoor. Great fun.

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