The 1978 musical film based on the Beatles' album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which has made many worst film lists over the years, is coming to Blu-ray on Sept. 26 and can now be pre-ordered from Amazon.com, Shout Factory, the distributor, announced in a press release July 26. The film co-stars the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton, both of whom were at the height of their careers when the film was released. The cast also includes several other famous names, such as Steve Martin, George Burns, Alice Cooper and Donald Pleasance, while the film's star-studded finale features a huge assortment of famous faces, including Beatles' producer George Martin and Billy Preston, who played with the Fabs during the Get Back sessions.
Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 15 percent rating on their Tomatometer. Movie critic Roger Ebert, who wrote the story and co-wrote the screenplay with Russ Meyer for Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, another critically lambasted movie, wrote, “Finally, no one will ever come up to me again and say that I wrote the worst movie ever made. Thank you, God.” Creative Loafing put it at the top of its list of The Worst Rock Films Ever Made along with such audience un-favorites as Stayin' Alive (which also featured music by the Bee Gees), Xanadu with Olivia Newton-John, Elvis Presley's Harum Scarum, and two films featuring at least one Beatle, Lisztomania (with Ringo Starr) and Magical Mystery Tour, which featured all of the Fab Four.
In an interview with Gary Graff for Billboard, Frampton said he agreed to do the film because he was told by producer Robert Stigwood that George Martin was to produce the music and that Paul McCartney would be in it. He later talked to McCartney after a Wings concert at Wembley Arena. “And I said, 'Oh, I thought you were going to be in it.' And 'Paul said, 'No, no, I'm not in it.' And I just thought, 'Uh-oh...'"
There are, however, at least a few good things to say about the film, however. The soundtrack includes some excellent covers of Beatles songs like the title song and “Getting Better” by both the Bee Gees and Frampton, “Oh Darling!” by Bee Gee Robin Gibb and Aerosmith doing “Come Together” and Earth Wind and Fire singing “Got To Get You Into My Life,” plus a wild “Maxwell's Silver Hammer” segment with comic Steve Martin. The Blu-ray edition will include an audio commentary with Pop Culture Historian Russell Dyball, picture galleries and the original theatrical trailer.