Wonderwall is a 1968 film by first-time director Joe Massot that stars Jane Birkin, Jack MacGowran, and Iain Quarrier, and features Richard Wattis and Irene Handl, and a cameo by Dutch collective The Fool, who were also set designers for the film.
The reclusive, eccentric scientist Oscar Collins (Jack MacGowran) has for next-door neighbours a pop photographer (Iain Quarrier) and his girlfriend/model Penny Lane (Jane Birkin). Discovering a beam of light streaming through a hole in the wall between them, Collins follows the light and spots Penny modelling for a photo shoot. Intrigued, he begins to make more holes, as days go by and they do more photo sessions. Oscar gradually becomes infatuated with the girl, and feels a part of the couple’s lives, even forsaking work to observe them. When they quarrel and the couple split, Penny takes an overdose of pills and passes out, but Oscar comes to her rescue.
The film is best remembered for its soundtrack, composed by then-Beatle George Harrison. Harrison had never done a film soundtrack, and told Massot he did not know how to do it, but when Massot promised to use whatever Harrison created, Harrison took the job.With Massot allowing him full artistic control, Harrison treated the soundtrack as an opportunity to further educate rock and pop audiences in facets of Indian music. Harrison’s key collaborator on the project was John Barham, who, as a classically trained pianist and musical arranger, annotated the melodies that Harrison sang to him and transcribed them onto sheet music for the Indian musicians. Leng describes Barham as Harrison’s “fellow traveler”, due to the two musicians’ shared appreciation of Indian classical music, and writes that because Harrison needed a collaborator who “empathized with his [musical] ideas”, Barham was a natural choice over George Martin, the Beatles’ producer and orchestral arranger.
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