Tuesday, November 02, 2010

AS A FAN OF THE HOARY OLD URBAN LEGEND, I JUST HAD TO GET ME A COPY OF THE NEW DVD "PAUL MCCARTNEY REALLY IS DEAD: THE LAST TESTAMENT OF GEORGE HARRISON". Now, I'm sure I don't need to explain to you about the old rumour in the mid-to-late 1960s that said Paul McCartney was actually killed in a car crash and replaced by a lookalike. I just love this stuff and it's always been a lot of fun spotting the clues in the song lyrics and album covers. So, of course, when I heard about this new "documentary" coming out on DVD I naturally had to see what new angles were being brought to this old, old urban legend. For those who don't know, the story goes that an unsolicited package arrived at the Hollywood offices of filmmaker Joel Gilbert's Highway 61 Entertainment in the summer of 2005. Inside the package was a mini-cassette recorder and two mini-cassettes dated December 30, 1999 and labelled in block-letters "The Last Testament of George Harrision". On the tapes was a voice claiming to be George Harrison explaining that the "Paul Is Dead" urban legend was actually true and that the British MI-5 organization had threatened to kill any Beatle who exposed the plot to replace Paul McCartney. The reason given at the time was that the Queen's government determined that, if the death of Paul McCartney was announced, countless frenzied Beatles fans would commit suicide. It is also alleged that John Lennon was killed after he made it known he was about to reveal the truth -- and that the near-fatal knife attack on George Harrison in the late 1990s was also an attempt to silence Harrison after he made rumblings of spilling the beans as well!
OK, a wonderfully silly but interesting addition to the myth. But now, on to the documentary. Sadly, sadly, sadly, the voice of George Harrison is so obviously NOT him that it fatally undermines any willing suspension of disbelief. I have personally seen countless interviews and documentaries featuring George Harrison; I'm fairly familiar with his voice and this just ain't him. The person doing the George Harrison "impression" is fairly good, I suppose, but he betrays himself by not only speaking in a Liverpudlian accent which waveringly comes and goes but also by using one or two Americanisms that no Englishman would use. Also, I happen to own a mini-cassette recorder almost identical to the one shown in the photo as having arrived in the package. The sound is, well, fairly atrocious and the recorder is only meant for dictation purposes. However, the sound of "George Harrison's voice" on the documentary (which provides narration for the entire movie) is clearly recorded on professional-sounding audio equipment; no amount of "sonic tweaking" could've made the micro-cassette recording sound THIS good! All this really pushes the "documentary" from the realm of "conspiracy theory" clear over the cliff into satire; are we really meant to take this documentary seriously?!? I can't imagine anyone but the most gullible person buying the truth of what's being said. At the very least, the voice of George Harrison could've been made to sound like it had actually been recorded on the little micro-cassette instead of sounding like it had been recorded in a high tech recording studio! Ah well, the REAL reason I got the dvd was because I was hoping it would go over all the "clues" in the traditional "Paul Is Dead" urban legend; and this it thankfully does. It is by no means a complete listing of all the "clues" but I have not seen any other documentary on the "Paul Is Dead" myth so this will have to do until a better one comes along. Another extremely odd facet of "George Harrison's" voice is that he occasionally uses extremely odd pronounciation not typical of a Liverpudlian accent: the most distracting is the way he constantly refers to the MI-5 threatening representative Maxwell as "Moxwell". Even stranger is the fact that, with all this mention of MI-5's Maxwell threatening the Beatles with death, the "documentary" never once refers to the song "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" -- the obvious source of the name "Maxwell" for this character. So there you have it, as a silly conspiracy theory movie on the "Paul Is Dead" urban legend, this DVD leaves a lot to be desired -- even if you are like me and never for a moment bought the "package from George Harrison" addition to the myth. One was rather hoping, however, for some shyster movie-makers with a little more finesse. But hell, at least this DVD is a lot more plausable than Patricia Cornwell's laughable so-called "solution" to the Jack the Ripper case!


Fink Master Flash said...

I still want to see this. Can I get, err, make a copy of this?

I too, am fascinated by the 'Paul is Dead' urban legen and I have you to thank for that!

Cerpts said...