|Starring|| Ringo Starr|
|Directed By||Richard Lester|
|Release Date(s)||July 29, 1965|
|Music By||The Beatles|
- This article is about the 1965 film starring The Beatles, for other uses of "Help!", see Help!
Help! is a 1965 film directed by Richard Lester, starring The Beatles—John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr—and featuring Leo McKern, Eleanor Bron, Victor Spinetti, John Bluthal, Roy Kinnear and Patrick Cargill. The soundtrack was released as an album, also called Help!.
The photojournalist Michael Peto was commissioned to take still photographs during the making of the film. They were recognised at the time for their candid and expressive quality. In 2004, more than 40 of his unpublished photographs of The Beatles were discovered during a digitisation project of his work. These were exhibited in 2007-2008 at the National Museums Liverpool.
Part One Edit
An eastern cult (a parody of the Thuggee cult) is about to sacrifice a woman to the (fictional) goddess 'Kaili'. Just as she is about to be killed they notice that she is not wearing the sacrificial ring. Ringo Starr, drummer of The Beatles, has it; sent to him by the victim and her sister, who is also the high priestess of the cult (both of whom are fans of The Beatles), it is on his finger. Determined to retrieve the ring and sacrifice the woman, the great Swami Clang (McKern), the high priestess Ahme (Bron) and several cult members including Bhuta (Bluthal) leave for London. After several failed attempts to steal the ring, they confront him in an Indian restaurant. Ringo learns that if he doesn't return the ring soon, he will become the next sacrifice. Ringo then discovers that the ring is stuck on his finger.
Next, they seek a jeweller to remove it but the tools he uses all break on the ring. In a desperate effort to remove the ring, the band resorts to the bumbling efforts of a mad scientist, Foot (Spinetti) and his assistant Algernon (Kinnear). His laboratory is full of surplus British made equipment and Foot despises anything British. When his equipment turns out to have no effect on the ring, Foot decides that he, too, must have it. Before he can do anything else, Ahme comes in with a pink Walther P-38 pistol, rescues the group and they return home.
Ahme, now revealed as being on the group's side, tells the group that her sister's time has passed and she is now out of danger. Ringo is now the sacrifice victim. Ahme proposes to inject Ringo with a potion that is derived from the essence of certain orchids and would shrink his finger so the ring would come off. She tells Ringo to be brave and suggests, to the camera, that if he had been brave; "none of this would have been necessary".
John bobs Ringo up and down like a yo-yo, Paul watches this, and George throws darts at the screen.
Ahme's sister is given a bathing and a scolding from her mother.
Part Three: Later that eveningEdit
Ringo lies nervously on the couch, waiting for the injection. But before Ahme can proceed, the gang starts to pound on the doors. Startled, Ahme drops the needle into Paul's leg and he shrinks! Cutting from "The Exciting Adventure of Paul on The Floor", the thugs break into the room and a fight ensues. Ahme flees. Ringo is doused with red paint (he has to be painted red in order for him to be sacrificed), thus ruining his best suit and causing him to mock-cry and a swordsman approaches. Foot comes in, shoots a warning shot with his Webley and scares the man away. The gang retreats and Foot makes his attempt to take the ring. Paul unshrinks and John subsequently starts to swing a lamp at Foot who tries to shoot him, but his gun misfires. Blaming this on the fact that the gun is British made, Foot retreats. The boys are left to sort things out.
The band flees to the Austrian Alps for refuge but both thugs and Foot follow in pursuit. As the Beatles participate in a game of curling, Foot and Algernon booby trap one of the curling stones with a bomb. George sees the "fiendish thingy" and tells everyone to run. The bomb eventually goes off after a delay, creating a big hole in the ice in which a swimmer (Mal Evans) emerges and asks directions to the White Cliffs of Dover. Next, Swami skis down a slope that Ahme told him was the way to get to further pursue the Beatles, but turns out to be the take-off ramp for a Ski jumping contest. Swami is the winner, and inadvertently gets held up by receiving a gold medal. The group escapes back to England and they ask for "protection" from Scotland Yard; and get it in the form of a cowardly Inspector (Cargill). After being attacked whilst recording in the middle of Salisbury Plain surrounded by the British Army, they hide in "A Well Known Palace" (Buckingham Palace) until they are almost captured by Foot.
The group step into a small pub, where Swami appears to be working. After being served beer, Ringo can't pick his glass up from the table, so George tips it over, unknowingly opening a trapdoor to the cellar that Swami set up. Inside the cellar is a broken ladder and a tiger. They go summon the Inspector, and tells them to sing the Ode to Joy from Beethoven's 9th Symphony to the tiger in order to tame it, while everyone outside the pub hear the melody, and join in. Disguised, the Beatles take a plane to the Bahamas, followed by Scotland Yard officers, Foot and Clang. After Ringo is nearly captured, the other Beatles pose as him in order to lure the cult members, who are then arrested by the Bahamas Police. Despite their best efforts, Ringo is captured by Foot, who takes him on to a ship intending to cut off his finger to get the ring.
Ahme rescues Ringo by giving Foot the same orchid essence shrinking solution in exchange. The two try to escape the ship by jumping into the water, however Ringo can't swim. They are captured by the cult and tied down on the beach where they are surrounded by two battalions of Kukhri Rifles. Clang begins the ceremony to sacrifice Ringo, after telling him that the cult members are prepared to attack the rest of the Beatles and police when they come to the rescue and that if Ringo attempts to warn them he will die instantly.
Ringo manages to untie himself and tries to wave to his band mates to warn them away. With this act of courage, the ring falls from his finger. He puts the ring on Clang's hand, saying "Get sacrificed! I don't subscribe to your religion!" Ahme declares that Clang will be the next sacrifice, as he is wearing the ring. The movie ends with Help! playing one last time and everyone running around. Clang manages to remove the ring and gives it to Foot and Algernon. They, however, leave the ring in the sand while the police rush about arresting the cult while The Beatles playfully run around; the ring ends up on Bhuta's finger and he becomes the target for sacrifice; meanwhile, Mal Evans swims toward the beach and once again, asks for directions to the White Cliffs of Dover. The movie ends with a dedication to "Elias Howe, who, in 1846, invented the "sewing machine".
The credits feature the characters acting up in front of the camera, with the jewel of the ring being placed in front of the lens. The music playing during the credits is the Overture of The Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini, with The Beatles adding their own laughing and comments.
The song titles that appear in the film are:
- "You're Going To Lose That Girl"
- "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away"
- "Ticket To Ride"
- "I Need You"
- "The Night Before"
- "Another Girl"
- "She's A Woman" (heard in the background, on a tape machine, and underground in the Salisbury Plain scene)
- "A Hard Day's Night" (played by Indian band and as an instrumental)
- "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You" (played by a band during the bike-riding scene)
- "You Can't Do That" (played as an instrumental during the Austrian Alps sequence)
The seven main songs formed the first side of the British release of the Help! album. The second half consisted of other new Beatles songs recorded at the same time.