May 17, 1968 "Wonderwall" Premiere at Cannes
On May 17, 1968, George Harrison along with then wife Pattie Boyd Harrison, Ringo and Maureen Starkey, actress Jane Birkin plus various cast attend the screening of the film "Wonderwall" at Cannes Film Festival in Cannes. France. The 1968 psychedelic style film by first-time director Joe Massot starred Jack MacGowran and Jane Birkin. The film also featured cameo scenes from actress Anita Pallenberg. George Harrison composed & produced the music for the film's soundtrack. Plus George & Ringo both worked on the soundtrack. In fact with it's release, "Wonderwall Music" became the very first solo album by any member of the Beatles.
Joe Massot had initially approached The Bee Gees to provide the soundtrack. But when they turned him down, a friend recommended George Harrison to him. George initially had some reservations, telling Massot that he had never did anything like that before. Joe Massot was able to assure George he would use whatever he came up with so George agreed.
George Harrison & Pattie Boyd Harrison in India while George was working on the soundtrack
George Harrison & Monkees' Peter Tork during the production of the soundtrack
While putting the music together, George used a stop watch to time the segments used in the film. The music is a mixture of Indian ragas & instrumental music. Some of the musicians on the soundtrack are the Liverpool based group The Remo IV. Plus also using pseudonyms: Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton & an uncredited Peter Tork of the Monkees, who borrowed a banjo owned by Paul McCartney to play. Raga wise the various musicians included Shambu Das. a protegee of Ravi Shankar & Aashish Khan. a Grammy winning sarod virtuoso who was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, which is India's highest honor for a performing artist. The soundtrack can be heard here.
Wonderwall Movie Trailer (Youtube)
While at Cannes, "Wonderwall" did win an award but because of it's low availability due to it's not having distribution, it didn't receive wide spread attention. It also did not receive a lot of positive feedback from critics. Eventually "Wonderwall" was released on The Midnight Movies film circuit in the 1970s but the quality of the film was very poor. In it's original version, "Wonderwall" was released on home video & was made available throughout the 1980s & 1990s Then in 1998, "Wonderwall" was restored & was re-released to critical acclaim this time with a distribution deal. Below are some images from the Cannes "Wonderwall" debut that the Harrisons and Starkeys attended.
Some images of Pattie & George attending the screening are courtesy of There's Something About Pattie Boyd Yahoo Group
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