The Fab Four... Beatles films
6th Feb 2014 | 16:00
A Hard Day's Night
A Hard Day's Night was described by one critic at the time as the “Citizen Kane of jukebox musicals”. Big words but the film is great.
The musical performances like If I Fell and I Should Have Known Better are complemented by some good acting by The Beatles and old lags like Wilfred Brambell (old man Steptoe of Steptoe And Son TV show fame).
Like the Beatles flicks that followed, Ringo is the star of the show. The scenes of him shuffling around old London causing mayhem are hilarious. The opening shot of the lads being chased by hordes of screaming girls is simply iconic.
A 1965 bonkers mess of cults and mad scientists with a bemused (and apparently stoned) Fab Four stuck in the middle.
Help! was a big influence on The Monkees TV series launched the following year. Shot on location in the Bahamas and the Alps (they’d always wanted to go there, said Paul), the film revolves around a sacrificial ring stuck on Ringo’s finger.
Once again, Ringo takes centre stage providing some genuinely comic moments and the music, as ever, is fantastic. The band’s performance on Salisbury Plain surrounded by the British Army is worth the cost of the DVD alone. Great fun.
Magical Mystery Tour
The concept was simple: get a bus, load it up with The Beatles, their mates and some circus performers, then drive around Britain and wait for magical adventures to happen.
Unfortunately, nothing did happen. But Magical Mystery Tour is still an interesting piece of work thanks to some great ‘music video’ moments, in particular the unforgettable spectacle of The Beatles performing I Am The Walrus wearing those crazy animal masks.
George plays his psychedelic Stratocaster ‘Rocky’ on the track – the Sonic Blue model he bought in 1965, repainted. Magical Mystery Tour was panned when it was first shown on Boxing Day TV in 1967. It’s since become a classic.
Let It Be
While it was intended as a unique insight into the band's studio work, Let It Be is more a fascinating documentary of The Beatles falling out of love with each other.
McCartney had been effectively running The Beatles since the death of the band's manager Brian Epstein in August of 1967 and the tension between him and John and George is obvious.
In one chilling scene of the film Paul lays out his ideas for the band’s future to John only to be met with complete silence. In typical Beatles style, the music of Let It Be maintains the band’s magic touch with the title track being a particular standout.