The Beatles Live project strays from path
Posted by Roger Stormo
Sunday, May 08, 2016
The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl.
It's so disappointing to see that the documentary originally focusing on The Beatles as a touring band has been turned into a film about the general career of The Beatles during the touring years. Back in 1977, the release of The Beatles at The Hollywood Bowl album was able to put a stop to the claims from non-fans (mainly followers of The Rolling Stones) that the Beatles may had plenty of hits but were no good live. After the Hollywood Bowl album, the non-believers were effectively silenced. We so wanted The Beatles Live project to be the film equivalent of that, to show us all aspects of The Beatles as a live band, and to stick to that theme. And it looked promising at first. The people in charge of the original project excitedly shared stories and films that were sent in to the project through their Facebook page and the official website.
Sadly, it seems the film has now shifted it's perspective, and has become yet another in a seemingly never ending line of films, both officially sanctioned and independent releases, summing up all things Beatle. Only the time frame is kept, it's the touring years - but it's not all about touring any more.
Beatles in Japan
Dear film makers, we already have the Beatles Anthology DVD series, we have From Liverpool to San Francisco, we have The Four Complete Ed Sullivan Shows Starring The Beatles, The First U.S. Visit, The Unseen Beatles, The Beatles Explosion, In Their Own Write, Rare And Unseen, The Long and Fabulous Road, From The Beginning To The End, Fun With The Fab Four, the list goes on and on.
From Liverpool to San Francisco (2005).
And the production team for the Beatles Live Project have seen all these previous DVD releases and wanted to do something else. They wanted to tell a story within the story, we were to be treated to the Beatles on stage and backstage, as well as to see them from their fans' point of view. And that story is worth telling, it is every bit as exciting as the career overview, even more so because it narrows it down.
From the modest package tours of the UK, first as a support act that worked their way up to becoming headliners - in the middle of such a tour - to the test drive first tour in a different country - Sweden, joking with royalty, encountering an audience in France mostly consisting of boys, not girls, conquering America, having to substitute Ringo for Jimmy Nicol, that enormous crowd turning up in Australia, the New Zealand visit with Aunt Mimi tagging along, inventing stadium shows, the not sold out tour of Europe, starring in the NME Poll Winners concerts four years in a row, returning to Germany including Hamburg, being the first performers at the Budokan Hall in Tokyo amidst protests from sports fans, the Philippines scandal and that final USA tour with threats from the Ku Klux Klan which ended the touring years. That story goes from one highlight to another!
The Beatles' final UK Concert
And then the Hollywood brass enters and the mantra is general audiences, general audiences. The film gets a new title (although still a working title) of Eight Days A Week - a song the Beatles never performed live. Let me tell you one thing: General audiences will LOVE a focused film. For once you have the chance to actually live up to the hype! The story is there, and it's wonderful and has ups and downs as well as a dramatic ending, but you're watering it out! You have the footage, you have the Giles Martin soundtrack, you've already hyped us up - use it! We have no need of seeing The Beatles getting their MBEs again, we've seen it too many times before. You go that route and you WILL see disappointing reviews. Time to rethink the film, and return to the original idea.
End of rant.
I'm basing my comments purely on hearsay, as I have no description of the film at this stage of the production at all. It was screened to a selected audience in Pasadena this week, but they probably had to sign a paper about not talking about it. I'm just worried that the project has gotten off track, and this is my meagre contribution to try and steer it back.