“All You Need Is Love”
Across the Universe:
Julie Taymor & The Beatles
By Jen Johans
|Meanwhile, to quote the song that became his namesake, "Maxwell's Silver Hammer,"
by The Beatles, “back in school again, [Maxwell] plays the fool again,” as, while
running from security, the boisterous Max forms a quick attachment to Jude on the
campus of Princeton.
In exchange for Jude’s willingness to hide Max, Max offers him “a little Ivy league
hospitality,” which leads to a night of partying to “With a Little Help From My
Fittingly, according to author Bill Harry’s Ultimate Beatles Encyclopedia,
Paul McCartney admitted that friendship to Ringo is what caused him to write the
song, in order to pay tribute to Ringo’s love of sentimentality and soul music (700).
Therefore, it makes sense for the film that it’s used to blend two cultures and
introduce the British Jude to America.
And one of the great things about this clip is the seemingly effortless way Taymor is
able to choreograph the wholly naturalistic movements of the guys to the beats in the
song, making it less forced than most musicals, and as they go out in the courtyard of
Princeton and the camera swirls, highly reminiscent of some of the shots that were
made under the direction of Milos Forman’s 60’s musical, Hair (pictured above).
This choice is even more ironic later on as Max's storyline echoes one in Forman's
classic musical, when the hippie is forced to go to Vietnam.
Meanwhile, while her older brother Max and his new friend Jude wreak havoc at
Princeton, Lucy lives a typical 60’s teenage existence mooning over her soldier
boyfriend with her friends at a pajama party, and obsessed with counting the
seconds until he’ll be coming back in this extraordinary clip (below the photo),
which to borrow another Beatles title, could be called “A Day in the Life...” of Lucy.
Foreshadowing Lucy’s eventual political activism, she voices her opinion over the
unfairness of the Thanksgiving holiday when Max brings Jude home to celebrate with
the family. And although he knows Lucy is promised to another and he has a
girlfriend back in England, to whom he told he would continue to send “All My
Loving,” Jude forms an immediate attraction to Lucy. It’s especially apparent in
this upbeat, wildly freewheeling clip which begins at their home and continues on to
a terrifically staged (and slightly dangerous looking) bowling alley set as he sings “I’
ve Just Seen a Face,” and Taymor makes great use of the lyrics of “falling and she
keeps calling me back again,” before the men head for New York.
|Text Only (c) Jen Johans. filmintuition.com
|Note: When originally posted in 2008, the embedded
videos we found online were all in working order. However,
due to Sony Pictures copyright violation, a majority of the
clips have now been removed from YouTube. We've chosen
to leave all of the original videos throughout the piece to
give you a reference point of where to follow along when
you watch the film on your own to best appreciate the essay.