The film responsible for the first official solo album by a member of the Beatles is getting the reissue treatment.
‘Wonderwall,’ assembled in 1968 by director Joe Massot, will return to store shelves on March 25 with a new Collector’s Edition courtesy of Shout! Factory. Available on DVD and Blu-ray, the new version includes the theatrical and director’s cuts, as well as a new 32-page book collecting “essays, analysis and production details” as well as fresh contributions from Massot. Both cuts benefit from a recent high-definition remastering job.
Although its failure to procure a distribution deal prevented ‘Wonderwall’ from seeing wide theatrical release, it was well-received during its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 1968, and it’s surfaced periodically over the years, becoming a midnight-movie favorite during the ’70s and receiving various home video reissues. A fairly surreal effort, the movie follows the unrequited love that a scientist (played by Jack MacGowran) develops for the model next door (Jane Birkin) after he spies on her photo shoots through an expanding network of holes in the wall between their homes. For many viewers, it’s chiefly noteworthy because George Harrison contributed the soundtrack.
The first Apple Records release, the ‘Wonderwall’ soundtrack consists mainly of brief instrumentals Harrison recorded in London in Dec. 1967 and Bombay during Jan. 1968. Although the Bombay sessions were a fairly loose affair, recorded live to tape, the London tracks were somewhat more involved, and featured appearances from Monkee Peter Tork, Harrison’s friend Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr. In and out of print at various points over the years, ‘Wonderwall Music’ is currently available on CD only as an expensive import, making the movie’s Collector’s Edition — which features “additional music from Harrison’s score” — something of a bargain.
Paul McCartney technically had the first solo album by a Beatle when his score for the movie ‘The Family Way’ was released in 1967. However, the album was credited to the George Martin Orchestra, even though McCartney contributed bass, piano and vocals to the album, and had his name prominently displayed on its cover.