Beatles, Spoof, Rock Music, Imaginary Band, Fake Documentary
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All You Need Is Cash (also known as The Rutles) is a 1978 television film that traces (in mockumentary style) the career of a fictitious British rock group called the Rutles. As TV Guide described it, the group's resemblance to the Beatles is "purely – and satirically – intentional".
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All You Need Is Cash was one of the first films of its kind, and an inspiration for the successful Rob Reiner cult comedy This Is Spinal Tap, released in 1984.
The Rutles were played by Eric Idle, John Halsey, Ricky Fataar, and Neil Innes. The band originally appeared in a sketch on Idle's program Rutland Weekend Television. The sketch was later re-broadcast on the American television show Saturday Night Live. For the film, Fataar replaced David Battley as Stig.
All You Need Is Cash is a series of skits and gags that illustrate the fictional Rutles story, closely following the chronology of The Beatles'. Innes, a former member of the British musical comedy group Bonzo Dog Band and Monty Python's de facto musician, was acquainted with the Beatles as the Bonzos had a cameo appearance in the movie Magical Mystery Tour in which they performed "Death Cab for Cutie". Paul McCartney had also produced the Bonzo's only hit single. I'm the Urban Spaceman, composed and sung by Innes. Fourteen of the Innes-penned songs were released on a soundtrack album (The CD version added six songs omitted from the original vinyl album.) The album was both critically and commercially successful and was nominated for a Grammy award for Best Comedy Recording of the year. The orchestrations and arrangements for the Rutles recordings were made by film composer John Altman.
The film is also notable for its many cameo appearances by both British and American comiedians, including Monty Python, Saturday Night Live and Rutland Weekend Television. Perhaps the most noteworthy cameo is by George Harrison. Harrison plays a television journalist conducting an interview outside the headquarters of Rutle Corps, oblivious to the stream of people coming out of the building carrying items stolen from the office; this is a reference to the Beatles' famously plundered Apple Boutique and Apple Headquarters, where even the ceiling lining were looted. The interview ends abruptly as the microphone is stolen out of his hand.
The film also features cameos from Idle's fellow Python Michael Palin, several SNL cast members including Gilda Radner, John Belushi, Bill Murray, and Dan Aykroyd (as well as SNL writers Al Franken and Tom Davis), Bianca Jagger as Dirk McQuickly's wife Martini, Ronnie Wood as a Hells Angel, and Mick Jagger, Paul Simon and Roger McGough as themselves. The Beatles publicity was also parodied. London was awash with posters saying "The Rutles are Coming" analogous to the similar "The Beatles are Coming" poster.
The program fared well on its British debut on BBC television. The film's cult status grew from the success of the soundtrack album, and after its release on the new medium of home video.
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