The Sam Ahab School of Transcendental Elocution
I believe this was the longest scene cut from the film; therefore, this description is pretty lengthy. Click on any photo to see a larger version! And remember, if you spot any mistakes or have any information to add, please e-mail me!
Alright, let's begin. If you've seen "HELP!", I'm sure you'll remember the end of the "Hey Be-a-tle!" scene, where the Beatles drive off and Clang and his followers go after them. The film then cuts to the scene with John and Ringo in an elevator. But where were the Beatles going the day they first met Clang? And did Clang ever catch up with them? We never found out . . .
There was a lengthy scene that was meant to be a continuation of the "Hey Be-a-tle" encounter, but was dropped from the final cut of the film. Though footage of this scene has never been released (and most likely no longer exists), I've been able to piece together a summary based on the "Help!" movie novelization by Al Hine, which was based on the original script that included this scene. The photos included on this page have been gathered from several different web sites and some "Help!" promotional material. We may never get to see the original footage of this scene, but here's your chance to catch a glimpse of what you've missed!
The scene opens with the Beatles arriving at the "Sam Ahab School of Trancendental Elocution." They are greeted by Sam Ahab, who is played by actor Frankie Howerd. Notice that the Beatles are all wearing the same clothes from the "Hey Be-a-tle!" scene.
Sam Ahab is an acting teacher (he prefers the term "trancending") who is giving the Beatles acting lessons. It's impossible to know exactly what his character was supposed to be like, but he is obviously a comical character and seems to be very impatient with the Beatles. Ringo, upset that none of the Beatles believed his tale about the encounter with the fishing rod, tries to tell Sam about it, but Sam keeps interrupting him with talk of "persevering in our transcendence." As Sam instructs the Beatles to "limber and lope," John asks, "Which do you want first, Sam - the limber?"
As Sam attempts to round up the Beatles for their lesson, "Lady Macbeth" continues her "transcendental" exercises, which apparently involve a lot of screaming! George, irritated by the noise, puts in a set of earplugs that he is carrying. You might be wondering, "Where did the earplugs come from?" Well...remember the earlier scene at the Beatles' flat, where Paul plays the organ while George reads the newspaper? According to the novelization, George puts in earplugs to drown out the noise (from either the organ or the lawnmower, or both). Incidentally, this is why we never see George's reaction to Ringo's "sandwich" encounter – he never hears it! And so, George was carrying those same earplugs with him for this scene. When the "Sam Ahab" scene was cut from the film, I assume the previous "earplug scene" was cut out as well, because it was no longer necessary. But those earplugs will become very important in a few minutes!
Sam manages to gather the four Beatles together and asks them to each recite a piece of Shakespeare in turn. Ringo, John, Paul, and George, in that order, recite lines from various Shakespeare plays. According to the novelization, Sam is quite pleased with Ringo, John, and Paul's recitation, while poor George turns in an awful performance. As George speaks his lines, strange music can be heard coming from the fireplace (I assume the music is similar to the "Go to the window" chant).
Everyone in the room falls into a trance – except for George, who cannot hear the music due to his earplugs. In fact, George is so involved in his performance that he doesn't even notice what is happening to the others. As he finishes up his lines, Clang, Ahme, and Bhuta crawl through the fireplace and into the room (If you click on the center picture below, you can clearly see George's earplugs).
Clang is pleased to see that the music has worked, until he discovers that George has not fallen into a trance like the others. George, in turn, is surprised to see Clang and the others but assumes they are a part of the acting lesson. Meanwhile, everyone else is swaying around the room, completely oblivious to the new arrivals.
Ahme finds Ringo, who is totally unaware of what is happening. She grabs him by the arm and leads him to a table. Clang ignores George and orders Bhuta to "make the necessary preparations for an immediate vise" to remove the ring from Ringo's finger. George tries to follow the conversation, but since he is still wearing his earplugs, he has no idea of what Clang and the others are saying.
Ahme and Bhuta try to remove Ringo's ring with the vice, but the ring won't budge. And so, they decide to take the next logical step - to chop Ringo's hand off at the wrist! Clang produces a large hatchet and they prepare Ringo's arm for the "surgery."
Although he's still not sure what's going on, George finally realizes that Ringo could be in danger and decides to intervene. He rushes to the table and either pushes or kicks Bhuta away from Ringo before Clang can perform the "surgery." Clang, enraged, hurls the hatchet at George. He misses, and the hatchet lands in a mirror (but somehow, the mirror doesn't break)!
Finally, Sam and the others notice the hatchet embedded in the mirror. Sam is startled, and Lady Macbeth is frightened. According to the novelization, the scene ends with John yanking the hatchet from the mirror, handing it to Lady Macbeth, and saying, "Is this a chopper that you see before you?"
Impact on other scenes: The decision to remove this scene didn't have much impact on the overall film, but it did have an effect on some of the later scenes: