Wonderwall (film)  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e



Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Wonderwall is the title of a 1968 movie by then first-time director Joe Massot that starred Jack MacGowran, Jane Birkin, Richard Wattis, Irene Handl, and Iain Quarrier, and featured cameos by Anita Pallenberg and Dutch designers The Fool (who were also set designers for the movie).


The story of the film revolves around the reclusive, eccentric scientist Oscar Collins (MacGowran), whose next-door neighbours are a pop photographer (Quarrier) and his girlfriend/model (Birkin), named Penny Lane. Discovering a beam of light streaming through a hole in the wall between them, Collins follows the light and spots Penny modelling for a photo shoot. Intrigued, he begins to make more holes, as days go by and they do more photo sessions. Oscar gradually becomes infatuated with the girl, and feels a part of the couple's lives, even forsaking work to observe them. When they quarrel and the couple split, Penny takes an overdose of pills and passes out, but Oscar comes to her rescue.


The soundtrack was composed by Beatle George Harrison, whom Massot approached specially for the project. Harrison had never done a movie soundtrack, and told Massot he didn't know how, but when Massot promised to use whatever Harrison created, Harrison took the job.

Deciding to make the soundtrack a kind of introduction to Indian music, Harrison recorded a series of short ragas at EMI's recording studio in Bombay in January 1968, then a selection of rock and other musical styles, at De Lane Lea Studios in London, England. Timing the segments with a stopwatch as he watched the unfinished movie, Harrison built up a healthy, varied musical program. The soundtrack album (Wonderwall Music), the first "solo" Beatles record, was released by Apple Records in November 1968. It also appeared on compact disc in 1992, during reissues of the Apple catalogue.

Release history

The movie premiered at the Cannes Film Festival that year, and won an award, but did not gain a proper distribution deal, and its showings were limited, leading some writers to mistakenly state that the movie "was so poor, it was never seen by anyone".Template:Fact A print did finally appear on the American midnight movies circuit in the 1970s, and on home video in the 1980s and 1990s, all of rather low technical quality.

In 1998, thirty years later and with Massot an established film director, he decided to restore and re-release his first movie. George Harrison's search for master recordings turned up a lyrical song, "In The First Place", which he hadn't submitted the first time around, believing Massot only wanted instrumental music. "In The First Place" was released as a single in 1999. Harrison is believed to have not only produced it, but to sing and play on it, although he asked to be only credited as producer. Massot was happy to include the song in the restored movie, which was released to critical acclaim the second time around, and got a distribution deal.

The restored version of Wonderwall is currently available on DVD through Rhino Entertainment in the United States, with bonus features.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Wonderwall (film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools