Despite the frivolous, not to say silly, plot, "Help!" is just plain fun; and, if one gets past the frantic antics, it is full of delightful puns and allusions (Some are very Goon Show.). The adorable four are supported by an A-1 cast, including Leo McKern, who puts as much zest into his role as the evil Clang as he does into that of Rumpole. Victor Spinetti (who was also in "A Hard Day's Night"), chews the scenery as the mad scientist, Foot, and he is ably assisted by Roy Kinnear as the dippy Algernon. Eleanor Bron is outstanding as the mysterious Ahme, who, decked out in an outrageous peacock blue turban and plumes, informs the lads that there is more to her than meets the eye. Each one of us probably has his favorite scene; mine is one in which Ringo is told not to worry about the Bengal tiger which is sharing the cellar with him; all he has to do to calm the beast is sing the "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony; and then all the Beatles and everyone else in the pub above the cellar belt it out in German! Goofy, but so what? It's fun! And besides, the Beatles sing a rollicking rendition of "Hey! You've got to Hide Your Love Away."
The second disk with the commentary is particularly enlightening. Not only are there the very interesting comments of the director, Richard Lester, but there is also a fascinating explanation by the technicians on the intricacies of restoring the film. Wendy Richard, who plays my favorite character, Miss Brahms, in "Are You Being Served?", talks about the thrill of playing her very first role in "Help!," only to discover at the last minute that the scene had been cut (They show bits and pieces of it, but unfortunately, the scene itself seems to be lost).
"Help!" is a film to watch on a summer night when you just want to sit back, relax, and have a good laugh.