Sixties City presents a wide-ranging series of articles on all aspects of the Sixties, penned by the creator of the iconic 60s music paper Mersey Beat
The Universe is a film from Revolution Studios, distributed by Columbia
Pictures and released in America in October 2007. 34 Beatles tunes were
included in the film at a cost of $10,000,000, although they weren't the
original recordings, but interpretations of the numbers by other artists.
Director Julie Taymor had previously directed films such as 'Titus' and
'Frida' and the script, a love story set against the Vietnam War protests
in the Sixties, was penned by British screenwriters Dick Clement and Ian
La Frenais. A Liverpool lad called Jude (Jim Sturgess) leaves his job on
the shipyards to travel to America in search of his father Wes (Robert Clohessy),
a former American G.I. who he has never met.
During his search he finds a job in Princeton and develops a friendship with Max (Joe Anderson), a rebellious youth from a privileged background. Max has a sister Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood) who has just kissed goodbye to her boyfriend Daniel (Spencer Liff), who is off to the Army - and Vietnam. Jude discovers that his father is a janitor at Princeton University and the two meet. Max decides to leave college and, together with Jude, then moves to New York and rents a room from an aspiring singer, Sadie (Dana Fuchs). Max becomes a taxi driver, Jude a freelance artist and they get to know Prudence (T.V. Carpio), a bisexual girl who has hitchhiked from Dayton, Ohio, and Jo-Jo, a guitarist (Martin Luthor McCoy) from Detroit.
When Lucy's boyfriend is killed in Vietnam, her parents want her to take a break before she enters college and she also becomes part of the bohemian enclave in New York and begins a relationship with Jude. Jo-Jo and Sadie have also taken up a relationship, which upsets Prudence who then joins a circus. Max is then called up and sent to Vietnam, which leads Lucy into protesting about the war and joining a radical anti-war group. Jude, who has no political opinions on the situation, is frustrated that Lucy is spending more and more time with the group who are led by Paco (Logan Marshall-Green), who Jude believes is seeking a relationship with Lucy.
meantime, Sadie has formed her own band, Sadie & The Po-Boys, and found
a manager (James Urbaniak), who secures her a recording contract. However,
he wants her to drop her backing band, with Jo-Jo, who is the lead guitarist,
which splits up the relationship between Sadie and Jo-Jo. The relationship
with Jude and Lucy ends when he storms into the offices of the anti-war
group and punches Paco. Lucy is among the demonstrators at Columbia and
she is arrested. Jude tries to help her but is arrested himself. Jude's
father Wes convinces the police not to arrest Jude, but he is deported back
to Liverpool where he discovers that his former girl friend Molly (Lisa
Hogg) had become pregnant by Phil (Michael Ryan), a friend of his.
In the meantime, Max has been wounded in Vietnam and is repatriated, although he is shattered both mentally and physically. Lucy decides to leave the anti-war group, but when she goes to their offices she discovers Paco and his friends making pipe bombs, one of which goes off and destroys the building. When he reads about the incident in Liverpool, Jude obtains a visa and returns to the States to seek Lucy out. He meets Max and they go to a rooftop concert held by Sadie and Jo-Jo which is interrupted by the police. Jude remains on the roof and sings a song, which brings the rest of his friends back to join him - and he sees Lucy looking at him from an adjoining rooftop - and they smile at each other.
There were 34 Beatles numbers featured on the movie soundtrack, with three of the numbers being included twice. In addition to the Beatles songs, there is an original soundtrack score by Elliot Goldenthal, Taymor's partner, who also composed the scores for the films 'Titus' and 'Frida.' Interscope Records actually issued three different soundtrack CDs from the film, with a 16-track version and two deluxe versions one available exclusively from the Best Buy retail chain and as a download and the other available from normal retail outlets. The 31 tracks on the latter CD are:
Across The Universe - Mix - For the Benefit of Mr. Kite
Jim Sturgess; 'Hold Me Tight', Evan Rachel Wood; 'All My Loving', Jim Sturgess;
'I Want To Hold Your Hand', T.V. Carpio; 'With A Little Help From My Friends',
Jim Sturgess; 'It Won't Be Long', Evan Rachel Wood; 'I've Just Seen A Face',
Jim Sturgess; 'Let It Be', Carol Woods and Timothy T. Mitchum; 'Come Together',
Joe Cocker; 'Why Don't We Do It In The Road', Dana Fuchs; 'If I Fell', Evan
Rachel Wood; 'I Want You (She's So Heavy)', Joe Anderson, Dana Fuchs and
T.V. Carpio; 'Dear Prudence', Dana Fuchs, Evan Rachel Wood, Jim Sturgess,
Joe Anderson; 'Flying', Secret Machines; 'Blue Jay Way', Secret Machines;
'I Am The Walrus', Bono and Secret Machines; 'Being For The Benefit of Mr
Kite', Eddie Izzard; 'Because', Dana Fuchs, Evan Rachel Wood, Jim Sturgess,
Joe Anderson, Martin Luthor McCoy, T. V. Carpio; 'Something', Jim Sturgess;
'Oh! Darling', Dana Fuchs, Martin Luthor McCoy; 'Strawberry Fields Forever',
Jim Sturgess, Joe Anderson; 'Revolution', Jim Sturgess; 'While My Guitar
Gently Weeps', Martin Luthor McCoy; 'Across The Universe', Jim Sturgess;
'Helter Skelter', Dana Fuchs; 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun', Joe Anderson, Salma
Hayek; 'Blackbird', Evan Rachel Wood; 'Hey Jude', Joe Anderson; 'Don't Let
Me Down', Dana Fuchs, Martin Luther McCoy; 'All You Need Is Love', Jim Sturgess,
Dana Fuchs, T. V. Carpio, Martin Luthor McCoy; 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds',
The film received two nominations: Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy; 80th Annual Academy Awards for Best Costume Design.
|Bill Harry attended the Liverpool College of Art with Stuart Sutcliffe and John Lennon and made the arrangements for Brian Epstein to visit The Cavern, where he saw The Beatles for the first time. Bill was a member of 'The Dissenters' and the founder and editor of 'Mersey Beat', the iconic weekly music newspaper that documented the early Sixties music scene in the Liverpool area and is possibly best known for being the first periodical to feature a local band called 'The Beatles'. He has worked as a high powered publicist, doing PR for acts such as Suzi Quatro, Free, The Arrows and Hot Chocolate and has managed press campaigns for record labels such as CBS, EMI, Polydor. Bill is the critically acclaimed author of a large number of books about The Beatles and the 60s era including 'The Beatles Who's Who', 'The Best Years of the Beatles' and the Fab Four's 'Encyclopedia' series. He has appeared on 'Good Morning America' and has received a Gold Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.|
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