Ringo in The Movies

Ringo & Peter Sellers

Ringo & Peter Sellers

Shortly after the band stopped touring, and encouraged by the reviews that he had received for his acting in A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, Ringo asked Brian Epstein’s NEMS organization to scout for a solo movie role. Several were probably found, but the one that Ringo agreed to was, quite wisely, a small part in a star-studded film: Candy, based on the book by Terry Southern. Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, John Huston, James Coburn, and Walter Matthau headed the international cast that also included Swedish beauty queen Ewa Aulin in the title role of Candy-the nymphet who shares her talents with all and sundry at the drop of her panties.

For his cameo as Emmanuel, the Mexican gardener, Ringo had his hair dyed jet-black, and, in December 1967 , flew out to Rome for two weeks of shooting. Unfortunately, he would have been better off staying at home-the reviews ranged from lukewarm to hostile. Still, in 1969 Ringo tried again, although this time he was accorded the co-starring role alongside Peter Sellers in The Magic Christian. Celebrities ranging from Raquel Welch, Richard Attenborough, and Christopher Lee to John Cleese, Yul Brynner, and Roman Polanski made guest appearances.

Ringo Caveman Poster

Ringo Caveman Poster

Like Candy, The Magic Christian was based on a novel by Terry Southern. Unlike Candy, it managed to be funny… in part. Centering around the exploits of the world’s richest man, Sir Guy Grand (Sellers), and his adopted son, Youngman (Ringo), the film demonstrates in a series of episodes the lengths people will go to for money. Apple artists Badfinger scored a hit with one of the movie’s featured songs, the Paul McCartney composition, “Come And Get It,” yet The Magic Christian itself didn’t do so well at the box-office.

If nothing else, The Magic Christian did provide The Beatles’ drummer with some welcome respite from the miserable Get Back sessions. He would continue to appear in films throughout the 1970s and early ’80s, the most memorable of which-from the public viewpoint-was That’ll Be the Day (1973) and-from his own viewpoint, since it brought him together with future wife, Barbara Bach – Caveman (1981).

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