First screened on BBC2 in 1978, at a time when the standing of The Beatles was at its lowest, The Rutles--All You Need is Cash
is the original and (pace This is Spinal Tap
) best "rockumentary" spoof. Codirector Eric Idle was then enjoying success with Rutland Weekend Television, while his script displays the same feeling for the inane non-sequitur evident in his Monty Python
work. The band's progress from "penniless, untalented nobodies" to "rich, untalented somebodies" is vividly brought to life--with dialogue adapted from actual Beatles interviews and newsreels, and a roster of songs sounding uncannily close to Beatles originals thanks to "Nasty" Neil Innes' genius for pastiche. Interviews with a suitably primed Mick Jagger and Paul Simon give added realism, as do cameos from George Harrison (one-time Beach Boy Rikki Fataar plays his Rutles double Stig) and Stones guitarist Ron Wood. Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi make characterful, pre-Blues Brothers
On the DVD: The Rutles--All You Need is Cash has come up well in this DVD transfer. The fullscreen 4:3 ratio picture and mono sound wear their age well, enhanced by the extra scenes included. There's further interview material with Jagger and Simon, and a specially recorded, though wholly unfunny, DVD introduction from Idle, who also contributes a running commentary. All in all, this is an ideal way to get to know, or renew acquaintance with, a film that brings the swinging 60s back down to earth. --Richard Whitehouse
Mock rockumentary, parodying the rise of a legendary pop band, that features a host of cameos from the likes of Mick Jagger, Paul Simon and George Harrison. Dirk (Eric Idle), Stig (Rikki Fataar), Ron (Neil Innes) and Barry (John Halsey) are the Rutles, a 'fab four' who, after a star appearance on Rutland Weekland Television, shock and rock the nation with such classics as: 'Ouch!', 'Piggy in the Middle', 'Cheese and Onions', 'Love Life' and 'Doubleback Alley'. The clever, Beatles-esque pastiches were all composed by Monty Python collaborator and Bonzo Dog Band member, Neil Innes.