I’d wanted to watch The Beatles’ movie Help! for some time after having seen clips of its slapstick and absurdist humor in, I think, a film class years ago. I finally got around to it the other weekend, and the film’s comedy really is quite often surprisingly timeless and fun in its silliness.
But there’s also a lot about the movie that stands out very poorly five decades later: namely, the film’s villains are an odd, offensive mashup of cultures, that seems to conflate Hinduism with Aztec sacrifices. The film doesn’t ascribe this religion to any one country or group, but it broadly references “Eastern” culture even while casting all white actors and using what is frequently Indian or Middle Eastern imagery.
There’s a very good chance…
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