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Original Movies


A Hard Day's Night

 

The Beatles had a successful film career, beginning with A Hard Day's Night (1964), a loosely scripted comic farce, sometimes compared to the Marx Brothers in style. A black-and-white film, it focused on Beatlemania and the band's hectic touring lifestyle and was directed by the up-and-coming Richard Lester A Hard Day's Night is a mockumentary of the four members as they make their way to a London television program. The film, released at the height of Beatlemania, was well received by critics.


Help!

In 1965 came Help!; an Eastmancolour extravaganza, which was also directed by Lester. The film was shot in exotic locations (such as Salisbury Plain, with Stonehenge visible in the background; the Bahamas; and Salzburg and the Tyrol region of the Austrian Alps) in the style of a Mr. Magoo spoof along with even more Marx Brothers-style zaniness  It was the first Beatles movie filmed in color.



Magical Mystery Tour

The Magical Mystery Tour film was essentially McCartney's idea, which was thought up as he returned from a trip to the U.S. in the late spring of 1967, and was loosely inspired by press coverage McCartney had read about Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters' LSD-fueled American bus odyssey. McCartney felt inspired to take this idea and blend it with the peculiarly English working class tradition of charabanc mystery tours, in which children took chaperoned bus rides through the English countryside, destination unknown. The film was critically dismissed when it was aired on the BBC's premier television network.  The film has historical importance as an early advance into the music video age.


Yellow Submarine


The animated Yellow Submarine followed in 1968, but had little direct input from The Beatles, save for a live-action epilogue and the contribution of five new songs (including "Only a Northern Song", an unreleased track from the Sgt. Pepper sessions). It was acclaimed for its boldly innovative graphic style and especially stinging pangs of heartbreak, along with the soundtrack. The Beatles are said to have been pleased with the result and attended its highly publicized London premiere. Regarding the voices provided by voice actors for The Beatles in the film, each one of The Beatles thought his own voice was not quite right, whilst saying that the other three were perfect.

Let It Be

Let It Be was an ill-fated documentary of the band that was shot over a four-week period in January 1969. The documentary — which was originally intended to be simply a chronicle of the evolution of an album, captured the prevailing tensions between the band members, and in this respect it unwittingly became a document of the beginning of their break-up.

The band initially rejected both the film and the album, instead recording and issuing the Abbey Road album. But with so much money having been spent on the project, it was decided to finish, and release, the film and album with considerable post-production by Phil Spector, in the spring of 1970.


A hard Day's Night Help! Magical Mystery Tour Yellow Submarine Let It Be