Thursday, February 04, 2010

'Up Against It'...the 'lost' Beatles' movie

Finally got around to reading the screenplay 'Up Against It' by Joe Orton. The script was intended as the Beatles' third film and written in early 1967, around the time of the release of the single 'Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields'.

Orton's tragic life was the subject of the film Prick Up You Ears starring Gary Oldman as Orton.

Regarding the script: I didn't like it. It was morbid and dull and the fact that the Beatles returned it without any notes or comments doesn't surprise me. The plot involves three men (this published screenplay is a revised version Orton did after the Beatles turned it down and the Ringo/George character have been merged into one) all in love with the same girl and at the same time involved in terrorism, war and generally being 'up against' society.

The setting is seems to be some kind of hybrid Victorian/1960's era. The dialog is bad 'Beatlesesque' puns. Example:

MAN: Don't sit in that chair. It has a broken leg.

RINGO: Have you called a doctor?

Orton wrote the script very quickly and it shows. The introduction is actually more interesting than the script, and has tidbits about having dinner with Paul and Orton's interaction with Epstein and Walter Shenson (film producer who did Hard Day's Night and Help!).

I would not recommend this script (you can get it with an novella Orton wrote called 'Head to Toe' which I have not read) because it is actually a chore to read. But as I said, the introduction is interesting as it gives some insight to someone who was on the fringe of the Beatles' world for a few months.


Blogger therealshell said...

The script is referenced in the Orton bio-pic "Prick Up Your Ears," as I recall. I think that Brian Epstein is seen talking to Orton about "Up Against It" on the phone at one point.

6:30 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home