Wonderwall (1968) | The psychedelic cult movie immortalised by Oasis is now restored for your viewing pleasure
Immortalised by Oasis in an eponymous track on their album, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, director Joe Massot’s far-out Swinging 60s’ arthouse classic, featuring a score by George Harrison, is now out on Blu-ray in the UK following an extensive HD restoration carried out by Pinewood Studios.
The release, from Fabulous Films, includes the original theatrical version of the film as well as the director’s cut that features music from the original Wonderwall Abbey Road session never included in the original release.
ARE YOU IN A HOLE?
It’s December 1967 and London is really swinging. Inside his cramped Landsowne Road apartment in SW11, absent-minded professor Oscar Collins (Jack MacGowran) discovers a hole in a wall in which he can view, unseen, the wild antics of a hip photographer (Iain Quarrier) and his collection of beautiful, drugged-up models, including the alluring Penny Lane (Jane Birkin). As he strips away more bricks, mortar, and even his ceiling, to get a better view of the couple’s love-ins and hash-fuelled ‘happenings’, he discovers Penny is far from happy and is soon forced to enter his ‘wonderwall’ in order to save her life…
LET YOUR MIND WONDER
‘Great film man. Where did you get those fucked up ideas?’ ‘It was the times’. Those words, spoken between Liam Gallagher and Joe Massot after an Oasis gig in Bournemouth back in 1996 perfectly sums up the director’s Wonderwall. Originally released in 1968, the film plays like an feature-length music video, with most the film’s trippy visuals – courtesy of legendary cinematographer Harry Waxman – comprising of inventive pop-art inspired fashion-shoots, arty dream sequences and surreal slapstick comedy from Jack MacGowran (best known for his classic turns in Roman Polanki’s Cul-de-sac and The Fearless Vampire Killers).
Jane Birkin, who appeared briefly in another Swinging London film, Blow-Up, in 1966, speaks not a word throughout, which is dominated by George Harrison’s exotic score, a heady fusion of Indian sitar, tambla and sarod, that helped introduced Indian music to the West. Viewing it today, Wonderwall certainly has dated (its party scenes were even spoofed in an episode of Absolutely Fabulous), but its a real treat to hear Harrison’s sensual sounds alongside Massot’s ‘fucked up ideas’, visualised in Waxman’s psychedelic photography. Which only makes this Blu-ray release a must-have in my cult movie collection.
With a budget of £60,000, Wonderwall was a low budget film with only £600 allocated for music. George Harrison spent £15,000 of his own money on creating the soundtrack which came his debut solo album, Wonderwall Music, and was the first release for The Beatles’ newly formed company Apple Records. The recording sessions took place at the EMI Abbey Road Studios and at Ravi Shankar’s studio in Bombay, India, with The Remo Four‘s Colin Manly and Tony Ashton, as well as Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr all becoming involved.
THE WONDERWALL SET
Joe Massot commissioned Dutch design collective The Fool to create the Wonderwall. They were best known for decorating the Apple Boutique building exterior, and painting John Lennon’s Rolls Royce and George Harrison’s Mini Cooper. Simone Postuma was the painter and Marijke Koger was the graphic artist, while Josje Leeger designed and made clothes, including several of Jane Birkin’s costumes.
• Reflections on Love (1966, 14-min) by Joe Massot. This is a real time warp trip back to 1960’s London when marriage, even between hippies, was between ‘one man and one woman’ (how times have changed).
• Publicity Text
• The Comic Art of Jack MacGowran (made up of clips from the film)
• The Art of Marijke (graphics from the film)
• Eric Clapton – Skiing (a clip from the film)
• John Lennon Poem
• The Remo Four Music Video (featuring clips from the film and short)
• Theatrical Trailer
• Outtake (the opening sequence with music by George Harrison)
• Collector’s booklet
Posted on April 15, 2014, in British Film, Cult classic, Must-See and tagged (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, 1960s British film, Absolutely Fabulous, British Film, Fabulous Films, George Harrison, Harry Waxman, Iain Quarrier, Jack MacGowran, Jane Birkin, Joe Massot, Liam Gallagher, Must See, Oasis (band), Psychedelic 1960s, Swinging 1960s, The Beatles, The Fool (design collective), Wonderwall. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.