The epically wonky 1968 Wonderwall features music by George Harrison and psychedelic visual design by The Fool, that group of acid head techno artists who painted the Apple office building in the '60s and had much to do with the latterday Beatles imagery (I wonder if Magic Alex ever perfected his magic box?).
The movie is so freakish, it's almost impossible to absorb - as an artifact of the 60s and hippie culture, and an example of some of the first Beatles "solo" music, it was well worth watching, and probably worth the high price that the limited edition U.S. region DVD sells for.
The first thing that comes to mind, a few minutes after finishing the film, is "This must be what it's like to do peyote, throw up, and then spend two hours staring at your vomit and marveling at how wondrous and beautiful your former lunch now looks...." An aging nutty professor and OCD paper hoarder finds a peephole in his cluttered apartment that glows like starlight (set within a wall mural painting of a crowned goddess in the sky) - When he looks thru the hole, he sees an otherworldly beautiful oft-under dressed young woman named Penny Lane (played by lovely blank-faced cipher Jane Birkin, who was equally blank in Antonioni's equally obtuse movie Blow-Up).
Penny Lane seems to be perpetually posing for 60s soft core porn mags, cigarette commercials, and stewardess ads, alone and/or with equally under dressed ladyfriends.
One one side of the wall, the Old Prof's side, it's just another day, the barber shaves another customer, the banker looking in --- On the OTHER side of the peephole, it's the 24-hour freak out channel, with freak out music kicking in every time the old man peeps at the fetishistic nylon leg shows and Hefner-fueled/acid-soaked visions of a Wild and Wonky World According To Playboy.
Opening more peepholes seems to open more worlds – or are these just the Old Prof's daydreams? In one trippy vision, the old Prof improbably sees himself, outdoors, battling a teenage Superman with "weapons" like giant ciggies and lipstick tubes. Or at an effeminate cowboy riding a plastic rocking horse and talking on the phone, or a hippie mermaid chick floating on a sea of polyester fabric while brushing her hair, or a Perplexing Planet of Preposterous Sunglasses.
He peeps most often at an ongoing idyllic Dionysian hippie party jam, with flute-playing flower children and beautiful dancing gypsies (with almost EVERYone smoking something, either ciggies or ??). The smoking in various other wonder worlds ranges from small glass pipes to Chong-sized roaches and giant octopus hookahs – Amusingly, the Old Prof himself, in his world, is proudly a non-smoker --- tho one wonders about how lab-customized his beloved sugar cubes may be, given his increasingly bizarre visions thru the Wonder wall.
The Old Prof becomes so obsessed that, for awhile, he seems to stop shaving or sleeping or doing anything else aside from peeping. Sorta presaging the advent of 500-channel TV feeds, it could be said --- When he strays too far from the wall - like when he goes to work at the lab one day, if only to study up on alternate realities and gaze lovingly at Penny Lane thru his microscope (?!)- he suddenly becomes black and white. As does the world around him. Only the wonder wall can color his world....
At some point, one of the wonder wall visions appears to actually be the adjoining room of a young hippie couple - or is it? Everything on the Other Side is just a colorful and hallucinogenic as his other visions.
When he realizes he's fallen in love with the young girl - or at least with her magical hippie wonderland - he manages to find a magic (Alex) doorway and dramatically leap into her world, apparently by dressing as a top-hat magician and fondling his magic wand (don't ask....) In summation – glad I watched it. Glad it was restored, especially the sonically engaging soundtrack, and glad it came out on DVD. Also glad the hippies – and Hollywood's brief trippy obsession with them – pretty much died with the Beatles.
I'll probably never have occasion to spin this inexplicable trip-fest again, unless under the influence of the Old Prof's suspect sugar cubes, but I'm glad I finally got to checkout this funky flashback, 40 years after it first came and went -