Fresh from the success of A Hard Day’s Night, The Beatles had the world at their feet and pitched to follow in the globetrotting wake of fellow Cool Britannia icon James Bond.
This time they are pursued by an Eastern mystic sect because Ringo has a sacred ring stuck on his finger (it was sent to him by a fan).
The plot opens as the High Priest Clang (Leo McKern) is about to sacrifice a human victim to the goddess Kali, but the ceremony is stopped when they realise the sacrifice is not wearing the sacred ring.
The rest of the film is occupied by Clang’s attempt to get the ring from Ringo, or else sacrifice him while he’s wearing it.
For 90 minutes, The Beatles are chased by the High Priest and the High Priestess (Eleanor Bron), who are chased by a couple of power-mad scientists (Roy Kinnear and Victor Spinetti), who are chased by a Scotland Yard man (Patrick Cargill).
A tiger traps Ringo in the cellar of a London pub and to save him everyone has to start singing the Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s Ninth – since the beast is from the Berlin Zoo and has been reared on the classics. The chorus swells until it fills Wembley Stadium.
The boys skip across to the Alps, which is where the movie’s musical and visual highpoint comes with Ticket To Ride accompanying their wacky ski lesson.
The band did all their own stunts for the segment, which is self-evident when the hapless Ringo falls on his arse.
They seek sanctuary in Buckingham Palace but the enemy gets in through the Royal back door and the chaos that ensues literally blows a gold-plated fuse across the river at Battersea Power Station.
They then apply for police protection and we next see them at a recording session in the middle of Salisbury Plain, protected by tanks and soldiers while the enemy burrows underneath them with a mine.
The lads eventually end up in the Bahamas where there is a final battle during which the ring simply drops off Ringo‘s finger.
The Beatles‘ second feature film added colour, location photography and millions of dollars to the budget – and it shows.
The script was written by Charles Wood, who specialised in caricaturing stock conventions.
Songs this time around include Another Girl, I Need You, The Night Before, Ticket To Ride, You’re Going To Lose That Girl, You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away and the title track.
The exterior shots of the “knocked-through” terrace houses which The Beatles live in were filmed outside numbers 5, 7, 9 and 11 in Ailsa Avenue, Twickenham.