BEATLES, THE: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK - THE TOURING YEARS
A compilation of found footage featuring music, interviews, and stories of The Beatles' 250 concerts from 1963 to 1966. Exclusive concert footage screening after the feature at all cinemas at the Shea Stadium on August 15, 1965, the first rock concert staged in a stadium in front of more than 55,000 people.
Review by Louise Keller:
I tapped my toes throughout Ron Howard's fabulous documentary that gives a real sense of the time, the Beatles' talent and the Beatle-mania that sweeps the world in the 60s. It is a unique time and the film allows us to understand how the world has changed since the digital age and the advent of social media, as well as reminding us how extraordinary the Beatles were and the utter madness of the bubble in which they found themselves. The prolific nature of John and Paul's songwriting is also canvassed, comparing their huge catalogue of works with that of composers such as Schubert and Mozart.
Crammed with revealing footage and interviews, Howard has crafted the film with great care and a specific focus, allowing us to almost feel as though we are there during the critical years, experiencing it all: the music, the passion, the freshness, the audacity, the excitement, the frustration and the magic.
Early footage shows John, Paul, George and Ringo playing in small clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg, when 'things were really simple'. We understand only full well how complicated things become at the end. Paul McCartney talks about his relationship with John Lennon, observing that their love of songwriting is the first thing that bonds them. The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein, who takes them on the road to stardom describes them to be 'fresh, honest and had star quality'.
They were out to capture the world and they did. Theirs is a different kind of fame than the fame of today. Watching the hysteria of young girls in the audiences and the tidal wave of crowd adulation, it is surprising how natural and unaffected the Beatles seem to be in those heady days between 1964 and 66, when they become a world phenomenon. It looks as though they are actually having fun.
We are there in the recording studios, during the press conferences, on tour and on stage, including the concert at the Shea Stadium (the first stadium tour in history), when the roar of 56,000 people overwhelms. Ringo comments of the inadequacy of the 100 watt amplification and how he has to watch John and Paul's bottoms and their nodding heads to see where they were in the song. Their pitch is perfect. The interviews with Whoopi Goldberg are especially moving, when she tells how her mother bought tickets to the concert as a surprise and how the Beatles made her feel 'colourless'. Journalist Larry Kane, who accompanies them on tour, provides many gems and insights. Sigourney Weaver tells how she was 'in love with John' and is seen as a teenager in close up in crowd footage in at one of the concerts.
The film canvasses the social changes at the time, namely the Black Rights movement and the way the Beatles become involved. The honesty and natural way the issues are addressed at press conferences is refreshing. The fact that each of the four band members have to agree on any such issue is critical.
You don't have to be a baby boomer to embrace this Fab Film of the Fab Four!
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THE TOURING YEARS
BEATLES, THE: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK - THE TOURING YEARS (M)
(UK, US, 2016)
CAST: Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr
PRODUCER: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Paul McCartney, Scott Pascucci, Nigel Sinclair
DIRECTOR: Ron Howard
SCRIPT: Mark Monroe, P.G. Morgan
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Michael Wood
EDITOR: Paul Crowder
MUSIC: Ric Markmann, Dan Pinnella, Chris Wagner
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Production Management: John Rita
RUNNING TIME: 138 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Studio Canal
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 16, 2016