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Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Les Bicyclettes de Belsize: Through to the Skies



As I mentioned on Twitter, Facebook, and all the usual places, I just added Engelbert Humperdinck's "Les Bicyclettes de Belsize," his 1968 hit record which I always loved -- and thought I loved more than I should have -- to my Science Fiction and Fantasy Songs playlist on Spotify, as you can see below.  It's the 16th song on the list, but they're not in any kind of ranking.  "Les Bicyclettes de Belsize" just seemed to go well with "Over the Rainbow," at #15.  Both after all are fantasy songs, both come from motion pictures with fantasy narratives, and both motion pictures are musicals.


Of course I've seen The Wizard of Oz many times, but never the Les Bicyclettes de Belsize movie. So I figured the least I could do is see it.  And lo and behold, it's available, free, on YouTube.  I've put it below, in case you want to see it, too.



It's a short film -- a shade under 30 minutes -- and actually quite charming.  Steve, a young man, rides a bicycle, eventually in a park (in London, but not Belsize Park, which is a real place in London).  He crashes through a poster of beautiful model, Julie.  He's instantly smitten with her.  She's looking for love.  They soon meet in the park while she's on a photo shoot.  He gets off his bike to be with her, and they walk off hand in hand.  Meanwhile, a little girl has developed a crush on Steve.  She's a little distraught to see Steve walk off with Julie, but then a little boy comes by, and we get a double happy ending.  There are other songs throughout the short film, but none hold a candle to "Les Bicyclettes de Belsize".

The movie has a pleasant psychedelic feel.  The lead almost could've been played by Donovan.  The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour was just out the previous year, and love was still very much in the air.  There's a song in the Les Bicyclettes de Belsize movie about needing love, and I wonder if it was inspired by John Lennon's "All You Need Is Love," also out a year before Les Bicyclettes.

Anyway, invest the half hour, and enjoy ...

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