If ever a comedy film deserved a pass on the basis of its cast alone (other than It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, naturally), one could make a pretty strong case for The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash, the centerpiece of The Rutles Anthology. A collaboration between major figures of both Monty Python and the early Saturday Night Live crew, the Rutles serve as a clear forerunner to Spinal Tap, and Cash an early entry in the musical faux-documentary genre.
Hosted by Eric Idle (who also performs hosting duties for Can’t Buy Me Lunch, a follow-up produced 23 years later), Cash reflects on the times and career of the Rutles (an undisguised reference to the Beatles) with the assistance of major industry figures like Mick Jagger. Many of the major comedians of the day drop in to make appearances (particular credit goes to Gilda Radner and John Belushi), while major points in the career of the Beatles are satirized with affection. The format was clearly in its infancy (it’d be nice if the performers were given a little more space to improvise), but All You Need is Cash is a solidly entertaining, efficient (a brisk 76 minutes) effort.
The DVD contains the follow-up Can’t Buy Me Lunch, while both discs contain a new interview with Idle, original Rutles clips that appeared on Saturday Night Live, and a trailer for Can’t Buy Me Lunch.
"The Rutles Anthology" is on sale December 3, 2013 and is not rated. Comedy. Written and directed by Eric Idle. Starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Eric Idle, George Harrison, Michael Palin, Neil Innes, John Halsey, Ricky Fataar, Bianca Jagger, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Terence Bayler.