Reviewed by James Whittington
Stars Eric Idle, Neil Innes, Rikki Fataar, John Halsey, George Harrison, Mick Jagger,
Paul Simon, Ron Wood, John Belushi, Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray, Gilda Ratner | Written by Eric Idle
UK certification 12 | UK RRP £15:99 | DVD Region 2 | Runtime 73 minutes | Directed by Gary Weiss & Eric Idle
Forget Spinal Tap, this is the finest mockumentary ever created. Originally shown in 1978, The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash is the story of the pre-fab four, Dirk, Stig, Nasty and Barry, a quartet of musicians who set the music industry on fire in the 1960s.
Well, not really as this is a juicy, hilarious and affectionate pastiche of The Beatles story and is probably one of the finest pieces of comedy ever brought to the small screen. What started off as a one off skit on Rutland TV, a sketch show written by Eric Idle and Neil Innes in the mid-seventies it transformed when The Rutles song, I Must Be In Love was shown on America’s hit comedy, Saturday Night Live on an evening when Eric Idle was actually presenting. Interest in the made up group was huge and soon this wonderful full-length creation was born. Viewed now three decades from original conception, one can only watch in awe at how close this story really is to the real Beatles legend.
From the superb interviews conducted by Idle (playing a witless interviewer) with real stars from the era (who all lie supremely about meeting The Rutles) this documentary charts the rise and fall of this imaginary group who had hit albums such as Sgt. Rutter’s Only Darts Club Band, Tragical History Tour and Let It Rot. But forget about Idle, the real stars are the songs which were all composed by ex-Bonzo Dog member Neil Innes. This maestro of a musician created a selection of Beatle-esque tracks that at times eclipse those that inspired them. Cheese and Onions, Get Up and Go and Ouch all capture the fun of the piece and will have you searching out the soundtrack. If you do buy it also get Archaeology, The Rutles album from 1996, which is just as good. So then this is a must have purchase, not only for lovers of fine comedy, but purveyors of stunning musical talent.
EXTRAS *** The Making of The Rutles, The Music of The Rutles, Audio Commentary, Eric Idle Intro, Deleted Scenes.