Pop nostalgia is an odd thing. It’s the connective tissue between the new movie Jersey Boys and this week’s Doc Option, the tremendously obscure 1976 film All This and World War II. Jersey Boys is based on the hit 2005 Broadway play of the same name, a dramatization of the rise and fall of The Four Seasons. All This and World War II features the music of The Beatles, the act that dethroned The Four Seasons from their perch at the top of musical popularity in the mid-’60s. But the doc also incorporates The Four Seasons and its perpetual frontman Frankie Valli into its mix. If you’re wondering what kind of a production would concoct such a situation, well, the answer is stranger than anything you’re probably expecting.
All This and World War II is an 88-minute recap of World War II, consisting of newsreel footage and clips from movies and propaganda films of the period, all set to covers of Beatles songs. Ambrosia’s cover of “Magical Mystery Tour” plays as Hitler and his cronies go about their day in Berlin. “I Am the Walrus,” as played by Leo Sayer, scores the bombing of Pearl Harbor. And Japanese-Americans are rounded up and shipped off to concentration camps with Sayer intoning “Let It Be” in the background. Valli’s cover of “A Day in the Life” scores a montage of military fortifications and soldiers going about their daily work (the Four Seasons track is “We Can Work It Out”). So on and so forth.
If all of this sounds incredibly crazy, well holy shit you don’t know the half of it.