Paul McCartney’s Adventures in Steampunk?

I Can't Believe It's Not Steampunk 3

As many of you will know, the term Steampunk is a play on the term Cyberpunk which was coined 30 years in 1984, and in that same year Beatle’s member Paul McCartney released the movie Give My Regards to Broad Street which although not getting much in the way of critical acclaim or box office success, does have a hidden “steampunk” gem. The loose plot of the movie revolves around a missing master tape that was stolen by one of McCartney’s assistants. Ruthless music industry business men want to get their hands on this tape and steal McCartney’s latest recordings, but Paul is on the case. The storyline really serves to string together a series of vignettes and essentially a collection of new music videos to various Beatles and McCartney songs.

One such interpretive music video that definitely stands out from the others is a reworking of the 1966 Beatle’s song “Eleanor Rigby” which already featured a prominent use of violins, cellos, and other classical stringed instruments. The 13 minute extended film version is titled “Eleanor’s Dream” and creates a visual narrative in which McCartney finds himself transported by the song to Victorian England where an innocent picnic outing turns into a murder, and a dark adventure in the back streets of London unfolds.

A couple of out of place and futuristic things qualify the “Eleanor’s Dream” vignette as Steampunk rather than just a Victorian scene. Around 4:48 minutes the footman carries in a wicker basket containing the glowing blue case of the missing master tape. Throughout the film the tape reel box does appear as this glowing erie object, but in the context of “Eleanor’s Dream” the juxtaposition has all the makings of a steampunk element.

The role of Linda McCartney taking a picture of the picnic party elegantly acts as an homage to her career as a photographer, but upon her camera’s flash powder at 5:18 minutes to music and the scene take a sinister turn.

At 5:55 minutes the villain’s carriage rolls into shot and employs a trope that helped to define Cyberpunk, mirrored shades! The windows of the carriage are mirrored and lower in an automated fashion from which the mirror shaded villain peers at the scene. With a nod from this Professor Moriarty figure, the murderous distraction is set in motion and the glowing blue box is stolen. At 8:08 minutes we enter the underbelly of the city as McCartney investigates and follows to trail to recover the missing box.

Thirty years after its release, the “Eleanor’s Dream” sequence still looks timeless in the way that Steampunk is and always will be timeless . . . truly an outstanding candidate for The Pandora Society’s seal of “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Steampunk!” 🙂


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