Imagining a Better Future by Re-imagining the Past

Saturday, September 2, 2017

All This and World War II

Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. America from border to border and coast to coast and all the ships at sea. I'm back from my sabbatical and ready to again dive into the warm waters of Dieselpunk.

One can find hours and hours of documentaries about WorldWar II. Yet, possibly the most bizarre documentary about the Second World War ever made was released in 1975 titled "All This and World War II.
All This And World War II Movie Poster

All This and World War II combines Beatles songs, performed by a number of musicians, with World War II newsreel footage and 20th Century Fox films from the 1940s. Produced with a budget of $1.3 million, the film featured clips the Army of the Third Reich, Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy, Milton Berle, Humphrey Bogart, Richard Burton, Neville Chamberlain, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Clark Gable, Adolf Hitler, Bob Hope, Joseph P. Kennedy, Laurel and Hardy, James Mason, Benito Mussolini, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin and James Stewart, among others.

The original intention of the filmmakers was to use actual Beatles music in the film. The decision to use other artists covering Beatles music was made by the film's producers after they realised additional money could be made through a soundtrack album. Many of the musicians in the soundtrack were pop music power houses. Sir Elton John, Bee Gees, Rod Stewart, The Four Seasons, Leo Sayer, Tina Turner, and Frankie Valli all recorded cover songs for the movie.

Critics ripped the movie. The reviewer in the New York Daily News wrote that the film's PG rating had to have stood for "Positively Ghastly", All This and World War II was a box office flop. The dismal ratings and bad reviews resulted in 20th Century Fox pulling the film after just two weeks from its release.

The movie’s music director, Lou Reizner, also produced the soundtrack album, which was quite successful. The album reached number 23 on the UK album charts, with a total of seven weeks on the chart and number 48 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart. Sir. Elton John’s rendition of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", when previously released as a single in 1974, had been a number one hit. Rod Stewart’s version of "Get Back" was subsequently released and became a UK hit single. Ambrosia’s cover version of "Magical Mystery Tour" was released and became a US hit single reaching #39 on the Billboard Charts.

All This and World War II has never been officially released on home video or DVD. However, because of the kindness of someone it's available to be seen on You Tube.

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