Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Walrus was nowhere.

Proof that you can know too much. For me, no viewing of a movie is complete these days until I've seen all the special features on the DVD and looked up the background information on Wikipedia and the Internet Movie Data Base. Yes, I'm an anal-retentive nerd, so what?

This weekend's movie was A Hard Day's Night. This is the latest in Daddy's continuing season of great grown-up films that I hope will show the boys there's more to the art of movie-making than the abysmal The Sorceror's Apprentice. (Can't believe I paid for four of us to see that crap!) So far we've done A Night at the Opera, the Back to the Future trilogy, Hitchcock's North by Northwest (very popular -- Bernard Herrman's theme music anticipates Philip Glass by at least 20 years) and Goldfinger*.

It doesn't get any better than the beautiful Beatles at their best, in inky blacks and shimmering, glowing whites. (A Hard Day's Night was the first movie restored and released on DVD.) And, as ever, when we get to the "Can't Buy Me Love" sequence of the lads disporting in a field, I inevitably brag that it was filmed in my home town of Hounslow, in West London.

But then I'm shocked to discover during my later reading that only three of the Fab Four were there for that secret day of filming on Thornbury Road playing fields, when my seven-year-old self was at Alexandra Infants School less than a mile away. The mighty John Lennon was off promoting his new book, In His Own Write** ("Come out the cow with glasses!") and his place was taken by a stand-in. A couple of inserts of him were edited in later.

Okay, the lovable moptops made much of the film at Twickenham Studios, which is nearby, although just outside the Borough. But the Beatles in Hounslow is part of my personal mythology. And twenty-five percent off is too big a discount when the missing man is John.

I lost Lennon. Again.

*Primus didn't ask for clarification of the "My name is Pussy Galore" "I must be dreaming" bit. Don't know if that's good or bad.

**Our daily newspaper in those days was the now-defunct Daily Sketch. It carried "Peanuts," which was my principal source of education about American life. (And still is.) It also had a daily strip called "Focus on Fact," giving a week's worth of information on various topics. About this time, the subject for the week was "The World's Best Seller." My mother looked up from the paper one morning and asked me pointedly if I knew what the world's best seller was. I shrugged, knowing little about the contemporary publishing scene. (And still don't.)

"John Lennon's
In His Own Write?" I ventured.

Wrong answer from the junior apostate. What I should have come up with, apparently, was The Bible. And this was a whole year before JL's "more popular than Jesus" fracas.


  1. The not asking means either of 2 things- #1 He wasn't really listening to the movie and didn't hear it, or #2 it means exactly what you think it might mean. As the mother of 2 boys, I'd go with #2.

  2. But there's an extra layer: Did he realize there was a joke there? And if he did, did he get it? And in both cases, I don't know if yes = bad or yes = good. So I try to think back to what I knew and thought about at his age . . . and then I shudder and try to fill my mind with something distracting. The horror, the horror.