A great deal of the magic of motion pictures comes in the audience’s ability to suspend practical thought and accept the most outlandish concepts imaginable. But this basic tenet of film appreciation is stretched far beyond the fraying point with Joel Gilbert’s utterly ridiculous documentary, which is rooted on the insistence that George Harrison left behind audio recordings that confirmed the late 1960s urban legend of Paul McCartney’s automobile accident death and secret replacement by a ringer.
Highway 61 Entertainment, the company behind this film, insists that in 2005 it received a parcel from London that contained a micro-cassette recorder and two tapes narrated by someone who supposedly sounded like Harrison. The parcel had no return address, and there was no explanation why that particular company – as opposed to a serious news organization – was chosen to receive the material.
This film, which is narrated by someone that sounds absolutely nothing like Harrison, runs an inventory of every well-worn allegation raised in the “Paul is dead” scenario. Yes, all of the oddball album covers, pun-filled lyrics, backwards-played music and curiously posed photographs are trotted out and presented as the honest-to-goodness truth. A few new claims, such as tying the murder of John Lennon to an MI5 plot to keep this story under wraps, are also aired.
Beatles fans might have some fun with the wealth of vintage news footage and photographs that are gathered here – none of the Fab Four’s songs were licensed, however – and conspiracy theorists will get indigestion gobbling up the film’s servings. But anyone with limited patience for cinematic stupidity can stop this mess at any point and drive the Magical Mystery Tour bus through the film’s holes of logic. Mother Mary really did say it best: let it be.