Directed by: Ron Howard.
It’s pretty safe to say that anyone reading this digs The Beatles in some way, from those that have the original mono copy of Revolver with the alternate take of tomorrow never knows, to those that quite like that only sing along to the chorus bit of Hey Jude. This is a film that I think will draw some degree of interest from both camps.
This film is a document of The Beatles touring years, being from 1962 to 1966, touching on their early days in Hamburg and The Cavern in Liverpool up to their final UK show in London. To the die hard Beatles fan there probably isn’t much here information wise that you don’t already know, some of the footage will even be familiar, touched on in the already exhaustive Anthology from the mid nineties. There is however archive and live footage never seen previously that will warrant a viewing of this film not to mention the reconditioned audio from Beatles live sets lovingly isolated as much as possible of intrusive crowd noise and optimised by Giles Martin, son of Beatles producer George Martin.
Don’t come to this film expecting some warts and all portrait of the Fab Four with unheard revelations, this isn’t that film. The real joy of this brilliantly put together documentary is of course the music, to see footage of the Beatles playing a small stage in Manchester to the Budokan in Japan, it’s a reminder of the fact that not only were they phenomenal songwriters, they were incredibly tight live musicians, playing damn near perfectly in an age before stage monitors and powerful PA’s, unable to hear themselves over the baying throng assembled screaming their names in unison and barely dropping a note, it really is impressive to behold.
Ron Howard has done a commendable job in assembling this film and keeps his audience no less than enthralled but when your subject matter is arguably the greatest band ever, it’s not too difficult to keep people’s attention. I can recommend this film to anyone with even a passing appreciation of The Beatles, the music will keep your feet tapping throughout and the more uninitiated may take away something they may not have known about the band, a joy from start to finish.